Setting Out

In a few short weeks I will travel to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the Festival of Faith and Writing. It is a kind of ritual that my friend Karen and I relish. For me, the highlight is always getting to see up close one of my favorite living poets, Scott Cairns.

It is especially heightened for me this year because I am knee-deep in his book, “Short Trip to the Edge: Where Earth Meets Heaven – A Pilgramage.” The book details his experience as a Pilgrim to Mount Athos and of his search for a spiritual mentor. This strikes me soundly at this time in my life. I feel I have been in search of my own mentor for a number of years to no avail.

Rather than do a poor job re-telling what Mr Cairns does beautifully in his own words I will merely post for you his work, “Setting Out” which opens his book. It lays a wonderful foundation. If it rings something in your soul then pick up this book and let it speak into the echo left in the wake of that ringing.

Setting Out

In time, even the slowest pilgrim might

articulate a turn. Given time enough,

the slowest pilgrim – even he – might

register some small measure of belated

progress. The road was, more or less, less

compelling than the hut, but as the benefit

of time allowed the hut’s distractions to attain

a vaguely musty scent, and all the novel

knickknacks to acquire a fine veneer of bone-

white dust, the road became then somewhat more

attractive; and as the weather made a timely

if quite brief concession, the pilgrim took this all

to be an open invitation to set out.

-Scott Cairns

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