Monday, 25 June 2012

pilgrims' progress

The juxta-position is at first a bit jarring, the centuries old wayside shrine (Bildstock) that I found wandering along a valley path compared to the electronic and networked cattle-brand-invitation displayed on an equally old church door, and a pilgrimage was never supposed to be a scavenger hunt or a popularity contest. Perhaps curiosity overtook the journey in itself with development of tourism, moving from religious wonder to respect for history and art—still inspired and inspiring, though. Some aspects of the Canterbury Tales did make the events some more like a social hour our cruise ship inmates, rather than a rite, sojourn and expedition (Pilgerweg).
Maybe it’s not so different—although I don’t think that one needs more real world reminders and visual cues especially in a place like Franconia and Germany, crowded with churches and altars of all sorts—from devotional artwork and the way, for instance, these ancient markers not only helped travelers keep to the trail but the way posts were often dedicated and personalized for pilgrims that were not able to reach the goal. I guess it’s fine to import such ornaments and memorials into people’s virtual lives and help with their spiritual vigils. The journey, no matter how many shortcuts are invented or indulged, still retains important elements of discovery and upbuilding.