Day 06 / Echevenouz – Aosta / 18km
I once heard “The true miracle of life is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth”, a sentence that describes perfectly the purpose of the Walking Mentorship. To refresh my mind our last stage in Via Francigena, was a 3D postcard of emotions.
After selecting outcomes and committing to clear objectives in the Choices template, each of us are ready to detail an Action Plan. This is the final step of our program and also the beginning of a new stage of intentional living.
It is truly special when we arrive at the last section of our walk and feel the happiness of our hard work in self-exploration. There is a tangible sensation of empowerment, the true understanding of a strategy for success and a roadmap to implement it.
The route today, took us to flank the “rus”, old masterworks of hydraulic engineering: little channels that bring water from mountain streams to cultivated lands down in the valley. An amazing walk of kilometers with a little twist…each one was walking alone, in silence…in total harmony, peace and connected with the world.
In a particular spot, blessed by an eternal spring that drops fresh water on an image of Mary and a very young Jesus, there is an invitation to stop and enjoy two things. First, the water as a sign of forgiveness, water that eternally washes what is not clean and help us to reborn. Secondly the meaning of the sculpture, Mary holds with both hands Jesus shoulders and points the way on the route, our route.
In the middle of our silence a very, very tall man appeared from the woods, walking funny with his backpack and when he start talking was even more funnier. Soon I understood that he started walking the Via Francigena in Belgium and was on his way to Rome (be aware, he had 1000 km already done and almost 1000 km still in front). Respect !
Few minutes later I start to understand that life was not exactly been the easiest thing to him, he was struggling with many challenges and physically seemed very tired. When he was about to continue on his route, I felt the need to ask him if he was ok.
Suddenly, what first I saw as odd, strange and almost unpleasant, become the highlight of my day. This person that I will never know the name, looked at me and before answering, opened up a smile that I could count all his teeth. He breath deeply and told me “I live everyday to the fullest” and repeated “everyday to the fullest”. I swallow my pride and saw him start walking. Few meters down he waived back and I could barely hold my emotions.
Smooth journeys along channels alternated with steep slopes can test your leg strength, honest smiles and genuinely good people prove that you have a heart and it is worth to take care of it.
The second section of our final walking day took us across bright orchards before entering Aosta, a very charming town dating back to the Roman period. The ancient town walls of Augusta Prætoria Salassorum are still preserved almost in their entirety. Before 16h00 the backpacks stopped.
One of the most beautiful and unrepeatable weeks of my life is drawing close to an end…or should I say to a beginning ? Tomorrow we go back to Geneva, maybe there is still time for a little surprise ?