Walking takes me exactly where I want to be (report by Mirjam de Bont)

Mirjam de Bont joined our group game grimage last summer and wrote the report below.

Walking takes me exactly where I want to be

Between sleeping and waking, I see all kinds of yellow Post-its on the wall of my bedroom in the morning twilight, quite a lot. The words on it are about my life. There are clusters of notes and solitaries. They are placed in time; The oldest are closest to the plinth. There are dotted lines and thick lines. They indicate the relationships between the notes. The wall is three-quarters full. The image is crystal clear.

Five days ago I turned sixty. You are not born a tabula rasa. Seeds have already been planted. Which ones germinate? And when is the time right? Can you sow your own seeds? Seeds in fertile soil, nourished by light, attention and enthusiasm. Who is the sower? Was everything sown before you were born?

Your life course determines:
what comes up
what blooms and dies
what proliferates and what remains in the shadows
What rests in the dark earth and does not germinate.

In a field of wildflowers, fewer poppies emerge one year because other plants are given space. The seeds will wait until the following year. What seeds are slumbering in the soil, waiting for this new phase of life? I will take this question with me on my walk.

Mirjam de Bont

I’m walking the Walk of Wisdom. Manja Bente sets off with six pilgrims. She feeds us with rituals, attention to the elements and our horoscopes.

I’m walking the Walk of Wisdom. Manja Bente sets off with six pilgrims. She feeds us with rituals, attention to the elements and our horoscopes.

The tour starts at the statue of Mariken van Nieumeghen and ends eight days later at the statue of the devil. “Comt nu tot mi ende help mi beclaghen, God of die dueel, tes mi alleleens.”

Eventually, after dealing with the devil, Mariken converts to God and becomes a nun. Today I don’t see any devils, but I do see a group of nice people, a varied landscape and a huge downpour with thunder in the distance. It is amazing how you sometimes step into another world with just a few steps: from the flat polder in the hills, from a dark forest in a residential area, from wide views to an enveloping path or from a toad pool suddenly on an asphalt road. I feel privileged, it promises to be a great adventure. When we walk, we don’t talk.

I walk through the green surroundings, on the springy ground. Breathe pure air and enjoy. Climbing, with increased heart rate, brings peace of mind. Everything works, my senses sharpened. I’m panting a lot. Slowly my heart comes to rest in the rolling landscape and opens up. “The Walk of Wisdom needs love,” I hear during the meal in the guesthouse on the edge of the Reichswald. Unfortunately, I was not able to give that in the last few kilometers.

It starts to flow. My body remembers walking to Santiago de Compostela for days and getting up to speed. Yummy! The persistent rain promotes turning inwards.

I like to walk without glasses, in the blurriness I can see other things clearly. The Sint-Jansberg turns out to be a magical place. I see images from times long gone; Floris and the clash of arms*. I shake off the images. Afterwards I feel at one with the surroundings and intensely satisfied, merging into the greenery. This is a seed that has been dormant in the ground and has long provided space for other plants.

At the end of the walking day, we walk barefoot through the wet grass, a bit in the forest and through puddles in the monastery garden in Velp.

It is a day of contrasts: heavy rain and radiant sun, no one to be seen and terraces full of well-dressed sunbathers in Grave, introverted between hedges and exposed to wind and weather on the dikes, asphalt and soft grass under your feet. The weather gods don’t make it easy for us, I think as I brave the rain against the wind, over the dike. We’re tough guys, but I don’t feel that way right now. I want to be alone and make my own plan. The next day I rejoin the group.

Hand in hand, singing, we walk in Nijmegen past Moenen, the devil, to the Stevens Church. It is
Miracles. Inspired, I continue my path; Germination.

Mirjam de Bont

*I look it up after returning home: Floris van Egmont, the Sint-Jansberg was a quarrel between Guelders and Cleves in the fifteenth century, in the time of Mariken van Nieumeghen.