Number of kilometres today: 28.2
Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 654.9
Total steps since Canterbury: 928,049
Despite the peace and tranquility of my surrounds in the little hamlet of Mormant, I slept badly last night. Tossing and turning, waking up too hot beneath the blankets and then after eventually falling asleep the throbbing and aching in my feet, knees and legs waking me again. I got out of bed to go to the bathroom for some water and on my way back to bed stopped to look out my bedroom window. The sky was cloudless and dark silver blue revealing the galaxies of stars. The three sisters the brightest perfectly aligned in front of my window. The half moon luminous and milky. The village was in complete darkness except for the candescent light shining from the second floor window of the house diagonally opposite. I wondered who was awake and why.
I set my alarm an hour too late and woke up from deep slumber 15 minutes before breakfast needing to dress and pack; a process that usually takes at least 45 minutes. I did it in 25 minutes and went downstairs for my simple breakfast of black coffee, baguette with fresh butter and homemade raspberry jam as I chatted to Annick in my pigeon French then set off for today's walk to Langres.
Diamonds of dew. Purple flowers everywhere. Fields of dead sunflowers, their heads bowed towards the ground but somehow still radiant in their death. Clear skies and sunshine in the morning then clouds of giant fairy floss intermittently shading the sun by afternoon. A two day old jambon et beurre sandwich eaten in a school bus stop. Dog-fighting dragon flies. A worm wriggling its way through mulch. The rippled, dark jade waters of Lac de la Mouche. Climbing over an electric fence to pass through woodlands. Yes, more peaceful time spent deep in the cool woods. Walking through thick brown mud. Walking over the cracked, parched earth. Descendng woody hills to see the walled city of Langres perched high up on a hill. Sitting in the sun eating a sweet royal gala apple. Lactic acid build up and shortness of breath rewarded victoriously walking throough the Porte Neuve. Walking a heart meditation and feeling my heart inside and out. Lightness of step carried by my love for this journey. Waking everyday happy to walk the unknown path again and see what magic awaits.
Tonight I am sleeping in the L'Abri du Pelerin provided by the presbyterie who check credentials and only allow bonafide pilgrims to sleep here. I am the only one here tonight. There will be no surprise visitors as they do not admit anyone after 6pm. Father will lock the gates shortly and they won't be opened until 7am. I have shelter, a bed and I am safe.
Through this area, accommodation is sparse between the big towns so tomorrow I am walking two days in one; 40 kilometres to Champlitte. My feet are now fiercely strong despite the pain sometimes by day, mostly at night. As long as I honour my body's rhythm and nurture my feet with regular stretching, massage and aeration, they will carry me there. Right now my body is asking for sleep. This tired but happy pilgrim is going to bed.