Monday, September 5, 2011

I was slicing a second plate of cheese when the wake-up soundtrack started playing. Wistfulness was already stinging my eyes as I realized that I would only wake up to this one more time:


At least...until the next pilgrimage. 

Though there was no Holy Communion this day, we did celebrate Mass in the cool, pastel fog of the morning. The mist was wafting like incense above the creek behind the barn and the military tent where Father Grzegorz offered the unbloody Sacrifice. There we were in the Pentateuch, kneeling outside the tent of  the Holy of Holies, while the priest alone went forth to speak with the Presence. Though the image varies, this is what I see in my mind everytime the Sanctus is sung.

The flagbearers made a hasty breakfast and departed for the church, while the majority of us stayed behind. The procession would have to pass this house, and we could join our group then.

It was another beautiful day. The paths stretched like ribbons over beautiful spaces, and Ola, having consulted with our deacon as to particular vocabulary in his conference, concluded it beautifully. He also delivered it in such a way as to ease translation. Finally gaining such access to the lucid sermons on the pilgrimage was probably the greatest blessing of this second journey.
On our second stop (we had made a happy dent in our last long day), humidity finally gave way to a sweet light shower. Some took cover, others pulled on their ponchos and--unperturbed--ate their lunch. As I had already spread my poncho on the ground, and it was just as wet as me, I did not see the point in trying to stay dry and left the homestead to do a little exploring. The unfortunate aspect of being a pilgrim is that one may not linger in the byways as a wanderer may, and here was my chance to do so. I was well rewarded.

Wetness in the air seems to make light bleed, and all was green down by this wayside. I felt sorry that we would be continuing on asphalt, even as lovely as the road's sheen was after the rain. This road seemed to be calling me. In any case I took advantage of the solitude to sing a favourite English pilgrim's song.

Back at the farm, everyone was delightfully packed under the various porches of the generous people hosting us. The image was as ideal as a representation of Noah's ark, though alas, this may be one of the worst pictures I took on the pilgrimage. Horrible exposure, ick!

After that little fall of rain, the sky swirled into the most beautiful dome we had seen on the entire sojourn. Delicate hues of every shade of blue and white painted the heavens, all in elegant swirls of marble texture. It covered us throughout the day, as though it were a Marian mantle. As I watched others writing their intentions for the rosary, I did not sigh, but reminded myself that she had already tucked my petitions into her heart, and if they were worthy, she would present them to the Lord herself.

When we arrived at the farmstead, I noticed with gratification that the vicious dog from the year before was on a shorter chain. He made no aggressive lunges at unwary pilgrims this year. However I did have to deal with another sort of attack, for M. insisted on engaging me in mimed sparring à la Lord of the Rings encounters. Though he graciously allowed me to be the winning character at times, I usually ended up being thrust through the middle with a spear or sword. Andrzej told me I was going to spoil that boy, but why not? I'll have to mind conduct well enough one day should I have children of my own.

Pastel blues faded into the fuchsia, violet, and finally indigo when night fell, and the moon kept teasing us through the folds of velvet clouds. One could not tear one's eyes away, even in prayer. Yet, it was no distraction. Heaven itself seemed to respond to our praise. I don't know how many saw it, but the moon did fully emerge from her wrappings--pure and resplendent in the night--just as we intoned the Apel Jasnogórski: 

Maryjo, Królowo Polski, 
Maryjo, Królowo Polski, 
jestem przy Tobie, pamiętam, 
jestem przy Tobie, pamiętam, 

Mary, Queen of Poland, 
Mary, Queen of Poland, 
I am by your side, I remember, 
I am by your side, I remember, 
I am keeping watch.



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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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