At the ticket counter for West Jet in Winnipeg I was a little anxious. I ran tight for time for the flight enroute to Toronto. The young fellow arranging my boarding pass assured me that I’ll be fine. In his friendly tone he asked, “Are you from Toronto?” I answered. Then he asked, “What brought you to Winnipeg?”
“I’m in the progress of walking across Canada and just finished the mid-way point.”
The guy was fascinated and then asked, “What’s it for?”
“To encourage pilgrimage and walking culture. Like the Camino in Spain. I wish we could have trails and an infrastructure like that in Canada,” I said.
He continued, “Well, do you have any designated routes in mind for Canada where pilgrimage could take place?”
“Hmmmmmmmm! You’ve given me something serious to think about.” And think I did. As I made my way to the gate I felt hopeful and optimistic for the completion of the walk to come next spring. Maybe I could put more definitively in my mind the routes that I thought might work. Perhaps not the whole country but some pieces here and there could work. I recall talking to my dear Godsisters Yamuna (before she passed away) and Dina Tarine on this point of identifying some locations that might be pilgrimage-friendly and start talking up some possibilities with people. What immediately comes to mind is our indigenous people and the great communication I had with them on this summer’s walk and in particular the last stretch. They have shown so much enthusiasm.
When I returned to Brampton/Toronto area after landing, I spoke with a young chap who works at the Chrysler plant. The figure he gave me is that each working day 500 cars are produced at the rate of one a minute. If it’s true for one factory in Canada, then what of the cumulative amount and the impact that has on the globe. To me its a case of wheels versus feet. Which will win out?
We need to pump up the pilgrim culture. I say it emphatically.