The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
So priketh hem Nature in hir corages-
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages...
If our Wisconsin Aprille would act more like Chaucer's description and less like a leonine March, pilgrimaging I should go. [Yes, that is a real word.] Or at least long to go, since various responsibilities here on Brookside Drive and environs tie me close at the moment.
This time of year I usually go to Texas to visit family, braving the tornado season to drive down through Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas and then back up. No matter what time of year I make that trip, I wind up contending with bad weather. On almost every spring trip, I wind up stopping overnight somewhere that just had a tornado strike nearby or where one is predicted the day after I leave. In winter, icy roads block the way. In summer and fall, other things impede. But still I go.
I have friends on the east coast that I have not seen for some years and one on the west coast whom I have not seen for decades. It would be nice to visit them, but that requires even more of a time commitment. Although I am retired, I have discovered that it is one thing to have free hours and quite another to find free days or weeks.
Okay, you say, but what I am describing isn't a pilgrimage, which is defined (and therefore IS) a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion.
As the Geron Davis song says,
"This is Holy Ground; we're standing on holy ground.Or, to be more secular, the Belinda Carlilse song says,
For the Lord is here, and where He is is Holy."
"They say in heaven love comes first.Heaven is where the people I love and I are together. Holy ground is where God is, and when I am with those I love, God is there. It took me a while to realize that. I can still remember when it hit me in the middle of a group discussion about something totally different in Maryland back in the spring of 2003. But now that I know, almost every journey has become a pilgrimage. And when I get to those I love, "That them hath holpen when that they were weeke", I rejoice.
We'll make heaven a place on earth."
And that, dear ones, is an act of religious ("tying it all together") devotion, whether it be April, May or December.
And I will make all those pilgrimages, though perhaps not all this year or this month.
For so I long, like Chaucer's band of folk six centuries ago.