Read: Paris to the Pyrenees

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“Do we have time for a visit?” I asked, checking my pedometer and watch. “About three months,” Alison reminded me. “Who’s keeping track, other than you?”

I have to say, at first I was not interested in reading this book. I was distracted with a hundred other things, and I found myself wondering about the future. I started the book anyway, and I’m glad I did. I realized very early on that I’m not interested in the history, at least not now. Not interested in the details. What I was interested in is the people. Who is hiking? Why? What were they thinking? Why did they do this? Could I do this? Why haven’t I done something like this already? Do I really want to do something like this? And then I realized this is precisely why I SHOULD be reading this book. David Downie’s Paris to the Pyrenees is a about a long walk across a land so rich in history it makes Orange County feel like a newborn. David and his wife, a photographer, take up a pilgrimage route and start hoofing. As you would expect, it’s funny, strange, cold, wet, hot and perhaps life-changing in ways you may or may not expect. Where I found most poignant were the small lines regarding the lifestyle that arises when one takes off on foot. Wandering gives you time to think, and this can be dangerously inspiring. A few samples below. Now, time to get out there and take a walk.

“Sometimes you need to wander. The meandering seems pointless, but it isn’t. Nothing is wasted, nothing is pointless, and nothing comes from nowhere.”

“Walking was like still photography-deep, slow and meditative.Riding in a car was like a movie.”

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      Ah yes, I’d been meaning to get that. This book wasn’t my fav but it made me think about things, which is about all I can ask. Just read another book that was fantastic. Stay tuned.

  1. As I get older I find myself reading books that trouble me… or maybe it’s just where I am. The last few years have been a mental adolescence of sorts, where I fight with everything I read. It’s kind of exhilarating. Not too long ago I was so deadened that nothing I read touched me, to the point where I stopped reading altogether (scary, but true).

    Also I have a schmancy new Kindle With A Light. ‘Cause some gypsies be fancy like that.

    Appreciating all of your reading recommendations. Looking forward to the next one.

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  2. I randomly stumbled across one of the churches on the pilgrim route. A delightful abbey encrusted with well preserved 12th century carvings. In bright sunshine, I sat in the square, sipping coffee at an outside table. Me, the waiter and a street cleaner. Otherwise not a soul in sight. By dint of a few miles, it does not have the magic appellation ‘Provence’. If it had, the streets would have been swamped with tourists and all the tat that accompanies them. Perplexing but gratifying.

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