Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales included tales from the Knight, Miller, Pardoner and even the wife of Bath, but to my knowledge the tale of the Lost Pilgrim remains untold.
She had heard of the pilgrimage to an ancient Holy Site, and wanted to be a part of it. She asked for details of the route and on the prescribed day packed up some food and water and set off to join the pilgrims en route, by the river. The river was high after all the rain, but the weather was fine, a golden late summer day, with signs of autumn approaching. The wheat was starting to ripen and the blue cornflowers were dancing in the breeze.The water looked majestic as it flowed downstream to the city of the great Cathedral.
She arrived in good time – really good time in fact as the main group were unexpectedly delayed – but although she was quite sure she was in the right place, she didn’t catch sight of or hear the group of men, women and children. She sat in the sun for a while watching the farmer -or his assistant – cutting the meadow grass and baling the hay – fodder for the animals in the long winter ahead.She watched the clouds form, and watched people on the paths and footbridge in the distance.
She never caught sight of the pilgrims or the cross they were carrying. Eventually she became restless, and began to explore the place herself, wandering the lanes and paths through the forest. She traced and retraced the route the pilgrims were to have followed, but she failed to pick up their trail. She never did find the Holy Site or the pilgrims. this certainly was not the pilgrimage she had planned for or anticipated, but in retrospect it was a silent retreat in the sole company of her Lord and Saviour and a day full of blessings.
What’s more there were the other pilgrims’ tales to look forward to – should she ever meet up with them!