Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Gjøvik Commitment

July 27, 2009

(Written to my young nephew Anders:) So here I am one day’s walk out from the Nidaros cathedral. 20 days back I was arriving on the shores of Lake Mjøsa in pouring rain discovering that the boat across the lake sailed both to Hamar, as I had planned, but also to Lillehammer, a two day jump farther north on the Pilgrim trail. Soaking wet and discouraged, I was ready to ship out for Lillehammer. Checking schedules, I discovered that the boat didn’t sail to Lillehammer daily and I would have to wait two days to short cut to the winter Olympic city. Relieved, I chose instead to sail the next day to Hamar and walk my whole Pilgrim route. Suddenly I felt really good—fully committed. I wanted to walk—every day, no short cuts, no shirking, no “Yellow Blazing”. I negotiated 32.5 km today, a good part of it over “myra” or soaking wet marsh. Done by 3:30 p.m., it was easy. I wonder if at your age I had the resources to tackle this kind of project. Rain 25 of 28 days. I’m not sure where I would have found the ambition. Your mother helped provide it for this trip, researching your chosen St. Olaf College (in Northfield, Minnesota) and discovering the pilgrimage. It seemed natural that I invite you along. A good idea? I don’t know. But succeeding sure feels great!

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