The Way of the Stars

This is a book, I would love to have written. The author, Robert Sibley, is a Canadian journalist with the Ottawa Citizen, who walked his Camino in the early 2000s in his late 40s, and is walking again with his son almost 10 years later. He asks so many of the questions, all of us have asked ourselves about walking the Camino, except that he is all of our inner voices and then some.

There is something in this quote from Sibley’s book that resonates:

“The idea of ‘finding’ God, of undergoing some kind of road-to-Damascus conversion, was too far-fetched, too New Age, for my secularized psyche…..I wanted to walk where millions of people confident in their faith had walked before. Maybe something of their faith would rub off on me. At the very least, I wanted to experience something other then (my) life of comfortable consumption and entertaining diversion.”

The author walks the Camino FranceĀ“s, carrying his backpack, staying often in refugios and meeting some very engaging pilgrims. He eats great meals, drinks a lot of wine and questions his faith and the Camino experience often.

Where many take guide books, Robert takes two poetry books – T. S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ and R. S Thomas’s Collected Poems – heavy reading, literally and figuratively, but he does ask some deep philosophical questions throughout his pilgrimage. If the poems didn’t always have the answers, they at least provided some spiritual sustenance to carry on in difficult times.

Sibley’s book, though scholarly, is an easy read. He speaks to the ‘Everyman’ in all of us. He is very ‘down to earth,’ very human and yet, like all of us, he is looking for something to take him out of the everyday, monotony of life, something a little closer to the divine – maybe.

“The Way of the Stars” certainly took me out of the monotony of waiting for Spring. Definitely a must read.

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