Walking a High Road
If things had gone as planned, by this time today, I would be sore and probably hitting the bottle (of Ibuprofen) from having walked fifteen miles, after sleeping on the ground for the past two nights, in a tent. Because – finally – some work that was supposed to take me to Europe around now coincided with this weekend’s annual walking pilgrimage from Notre Dame of Paris to Notre Dame of Chartres.
None of that has happened, of course, because of the virus. A great shame, too, because the Chartres Pilgrimage originated with a man I regard as one of the greatest modern writers – and great Catholic spirits – Charles Péguy.
When Pierre, one of his children, fell sick with typhoid and was near death, Péguy made a vow to the Virgin: if his son recovered, he would make the pilgrimage on foot. Pierre survived; Péguy kept his vow.
It didn’t end there. Péguy died of a bullet through the head at the Battle of the Marne in World War I. He later became famous for his sheer genius and the heroism his works inspired among the French during World War II when the Nazis occupied France. (De Gaulle begins and ends his memoirs quoting Péguy.)