Henry David Thoreau, in his essay titled, Walking, explained that the word Saunter comes “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “there goes a Sainte-Terre,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.
I like to think of myself as a saunterer, even though my image of someone who saunters is more of a meanderer than I. When I go for my daily walk, I have a goal to walk a mile and while it’s not to the Holy Land, I find that I do travel to the holy land of my heart. I may be walking with my husband and talking about the kids or our respective days or I may be walking alone, listening to my “spirit” music on my Ipod. It doesn’t really matter. Getting outside for a walk connects me to nature, the changing seasons, my husband, and myself. Walking keeps me in touch with my body that changes daily.
For years I looked outside myself for that which is Holy. If age has taught me anything, it’s the understanding that the Holy exists as much within me as it does outside of me. I experience holiness in the quiet solitude of my morning coffee as much as I do sitting next to the ocean. And now, as I walk every day, I find my inner experience is every bit as holy as the blooming of the lilacs.
And, like the saunterers in the Middle Ages, I, too, am asking for money. But not for myself. Money so that others may have the experience of finding their own Holy moments as they walk through life.