Gordon: Today was our 55th and final day of walking or cycling. We have covered a little over 1300 kms, as measured by the English language guide book, though our actual mileage was probably about 1500 kms. We also visited all 88 temples on our first circuit, and 23 temples on our second. The total of 111 temples sounds quite auspicious.
The storm yesterday was truly biblical in its intensity. When a particularly active cell passed over, the wind would increase to a frightening pitch, the rain fell as though it was being poured on our heads from a bucket, and lightning was striking all around us. While it was rather unpleasant, my reaction to it may reflect some modest progress in mindfulness. Throughout the pilgrimage I have tried to periodically be in the moment, by turning my attention to the sounds, smells and sights around me, as well as assessing my own physical feelings. During the storm I turned my attention to all of the novel things I was seeing. These included large numbers of tiny, lime green frogs on the roads, as well as many multicoloured land crabs (a strange sight miles from the sea). There was also the movement of all the water: sheets of water were running across the roads, the drainage holes in concrete walls were fountains, and formerly small steams were dirty, raging rivers.
This morning was quite the opposite of yesterday. It dawned clear, and remained warm but pleasant all day. We decided to walk or cycle from Hiwasa to Mugi along a beautiful secondary road called the Minami-awa Sun Line. It rises several hundred metres, and then undulates across the landscape, with views of the rugged coastline and the possibility of seeing wild monkeys. While we came up empty on the monkeys, there were a dozen stray cats at one viewpoint.
I walked quietly and happily, trying to be in the moment, but already thinking about continuing our second circuit in the future. We deposited a name slip at each temple, and part of what we wrote on them was a wish. At the final temple we visited we both wished to return to continue the pilgrimage.