Monday, 3 September 2007

From the end of Daizan's walk

Hiya, how are you? So the walk's done. I made it to Cape Wrath (old Norse for "the turning point") a couple of days ago. Imagine vast empty spaces - moorland and mountain reached across a rivermouth by motorboat. There's a tiny road winding eleven miles through the wind and rain and, at the tip, huge cliffs climbing a thousand feet out of the sea capped by a white lighthouse. As I crossed the water, the boatman said "With the tide and the wind, I'll be stopping in a couple of hours." Looked like I wasn't going to make it back. I didn't have a sleeping bag or tent, or anything much to eat. "Just find somewhere to sleep," I thought.

So after eleven miles through wind and horizontal rain, and a pretty thorough soaking, I made it to the lighthouse. Finding a garage containing a rusted Toyota truck with the door ripped-off (by the wind, I later discovered), I climbed in out of the wind and settled down for a nap. A few minutes later I was greeted by the barking of six springer spaniels and a Scottish voice telling them to shut up and that was my introduction to John the hermit, the solitary occupant of the lighthouse buildings, and the only human for hundreds of square miles. John graciously took in a soaked monk and we talked over macaroni cheese and toast by the light of a peat fire for a good bit of the night.

As the sun went down, the rain stopped and I was able to go out to the very tip of the cape and chant the ancient scriptures of Zen. I took out a little stone that I'd carried from St. Catherine's - the start-point of the walk on the Isle of Wight, and threw it far out into the sea.

When I sat in meditation so many faces of the kind and generous and profound and extraordinary people I'd met over the previous sixty four days appeared. Although I'd done the actual walking. All their support made it possible and just thinking of them I was moved almost to tears. I'm so glad that a book is being written of the walk so they can be known more widely. The truth is, there are so many amazing people around and the way the news system works, they can be almost invisible. It looks like the book will be called "Seven Million Steps" and will be published by John Wiley. I'll keep you posted.

Then, in the wind at the end of the world, I danced.

See you very soon.

Cheers Daizan

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