[Several of you, faithful readers, have suggested that I try my plume at a short story. As a pilgrimage is indeed about traveling the unexpected and uncomfortable, I am gracing you today with the result of this adventure, more of a poetic fantasy, though, than a tale.]
Part Three: Roncesvalles to Zubiri
The Camino crosses two mountain passes before continuing on to Zubiri through sprawling forests known as The Oak Grove of the Witches where several women were burned at the stake in the 14th & 16th century and where a white cross (Cruz de Blanco) was erected to greet pilgrims on the path.
The woods are thick and somber. Their black canopy stands guard as fallen branches and logs draw scary figures that play out the nightmare. Clusters of bushes, like soldiers, protect the memory of those sacrificed in the name of truth. Underground magic lurks in the damp earth, its power luring the weak and punishing the strong.
A white cross poses as divine ruler of this haunted kingdom. Here voices once rose to meet the Heavens, their broken litany unheard, or simply ignored. Here played the drama of man’s mistaken image of God. The wounded are not gone and the wound still bleeds.
The path is narrow and treacherous yet Man walks on.
A gravely trail leads him into shades of green that rustle with resilience and restoration. Leaves and needles awake at his steady approach, greeting the arrival of the one who brings change. Rocks look up from under blankets of moss and cheer his advance into the flow of all that grows, dies, flies, and lives again. Roots re-arrange their patterns to ease his way forward into more depth, less darkness. They know it’s in the light that one can see.
The woods are dense and silent yet Woman hears their welcome.
Trees stand taller to meet the witch’s return; ferns capture timid flickers of sunlight that take her into the core of the ancient curse. The air picks up the richness of her purpose and drinks in the fullness of her resolve. As the haunted grove falls under the spell of her peaceful breathing, the path widens and opens onto a small clearing where grass is soft and inviting. There wilderness gets tamed into flowers and space buzzes with hope and promises.
There, Woman and Man rest, pilgrims of Peace in a place of unrest, envoys of the Goddess from a time ruled by fear. The white cross responds to the familiar message flowing from their hearts and heeds their timeless vision. It remembers its original calling as once shared by a single soul in a barren land and, with arms wide and high, claims back its sacred Truth. The wounded are blessed and, at long last, the wound is healed.
Man and Woman walk, ever onward,
and the forest is renewed.
PS [passport’s stamp] #4: Love is divine magic
“Do not pity the dead, Harry, pity the living, and above all those who live without love.” – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [J.K. Rowling]
Maryse Godet Copans © 2017