13TH – 17TH SEPT 2011
The Word became the Son of Man and Creator kissed creation back to life,
indeed true Love’s kiss to break the spell and awaken the beauty.
Beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning
….all dormancy is over.
We were a small team of four for the whole five days and 170 miles, hand picked and just enough for the job from Glasgow, St Albans, Brighton and Selsey. With the threat of hurricane Katia looming I decided to have a frank chat with her out at sea, as a head on collision on land was simply not the ticket. After staying with dear friends in the Wirral we set out from Chester towards Stafford in sunshine and the weather kindly held with us the whole way.
After staying in Stoke we continued south east, across the top of Birmingham through Cannock, Burntwood and Sutton Coldfield. In 2007, I was on a walk from Leeds to Cardiff via Birmingham and we were welcomed into Sutton Coldfield by a lady who hosted loads of us walkers at the time. Four years later I connected with this lady again who welcomed us into her home. Living to the east of Birmingham very near to where this walk will cross over, it was a moment to draw on the heart of Jesus’ kiss of Life for this woman and the heart of Birmingham.
The transition from labouring in the heat of the midday sun to walking in the garden in the cool of the day is an integral and current part of the journey for all, this is where all hearts will find their healing, in a new way of being that is foundational for all doing.
From there we went through the centre of Coventry, there was something of the openness and peace emanating from the ceiling-less cathedral that that gently rested there. It was this humility that inspired us to call for the wonder of those that allow the Spirit to fully flow unhampered without ego, self-interest or empire building.
As we stepped into Northamptonshire, it was not without recalling the walk from Lincoln to Maidenhead when entering this county was like walking into a blockade, making it a testing walk. However it was here that a key was discovered to unlock the whole area, it pivoted on a place called the three locks and a great connection with a lady, Clare Amies, a living key in a deadlock. This walk crossed over that other walk right where Clare lives and so it was great to stay with her and her husband at Great Brickhill just outside Milton Keynes, for the third time in the last 4 years.
We skirted the south of Daventry and headed to Towcester where the Watling street goes through and on into Paulerspury. This is where Boudicca and her army of 70-80,000 probably fell. Two mothers stood there as friends, each with daughters, by a stream that ran between the two hills where the battle took place and flowed under the Watling street.
The roman highway is giving up the treasure that resides underneath it, unearthing an indigenous heritage to be redeemed and taken back. From that point on the Watling street felt like a different way as if a deeper path below had opened up and was no longer roman dominant.
Having walked east to west through Milton Keynes last year, we took the same root but west to east this time and continued on to Dunstable, a place of low self esteem where the favour of Jesus walks the streets.
Finishing up at St Albans would mean my seventh visit to this city, walked in from seven different directions each time as if lassoing this place over and over with the truth. At the site of Verulamium and the roman amphitheatre there, at last, there was a resolving of the issue of the Welsh priest killed here having been captured at Caerleon. He was the reason there was a ‘St Alban’. Alban gave him refuge from the Romans and in return received the truth of Jesus. Alban went as far as to wear the priests cloak as a decoy so the priest could escape and consequently Alban was executed. This priest is called St Amphibalus which is merely latin for cloak and I believe that St Alban’s day is now being handed to this nameless welsh priest just as Alban gave his life for him to live. This is the true root of this place, a selfless love that lays its life down for a friend which is the very first call we made to this city.
At the same time there was something of Caerleon and Welsh identity that had been tied or held here against its will since ‘Amphibalus’ death. It had been tethered in the amphitheatre here for centuries and yet was very much part of the treasure and authority that lay beneath the amphitheatre in Caerleon. It was deeply moving to give freedom this ‘Welsh dragon’ to return to where it belongs and rejoin its counterpart.
I believe these walks are destabilising a ‘grid of control’ that has its footholds deeply embedded in cities that are ‘chesters’. Since 1997 I have carried a knowledge that these ‘footholds’ would hold out the longest but once uprooted would disconnect this ‘grid of control’ from our land. Standing in St Alban’s amphitheatre I received word that this ‘foothold’ will be the first to be dislodged and unplugged. No wonder the contesting since I arrived home has been a shocker!
My complete thanks to Sarah Holloway who has walked beside me much of the way while living on the doorstep of St Albans in Wheathampstead, the ancient celtic capital in that location. A woman of the land and a stalwart heart, it was her lead that took us into her land at the finish of this walk and for this chapter, journey is at an end. The reins have been reassigned to the nobodies and the everybodies, the nameless priests and the faceless heros.
All thanks to Dave and Andrew who came and for all you gave, you made it all possible.
Here’s to the final stroke of this ‘kiss of Life’ to complete and clinch the deal, this will be from Lincoln to Caerleon sometime in 2012.