„Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” – Thich Nath Hanh
Day 2 on the Via Francigena – Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano
On a hilltop between the medieval Tuscan towns of Gambassi Terme and San Gimignano the pilgrim enters the village of Pancole famous for the 15th century painting by Pier Francesco Fiorentino of the “Virgin feeding her Son.”
The original sanctuary was built in 1668 on the site where the sacred image originally stood along a country road where it had been abandoned and covered by undergrowth. Several miracles were attributed to the Madonna.
One of the miracles is the survival of the painting itself after the Nazis destroyed the original sanctuary in an act of indiscriminate vandalism in a bid to destroy the very soul and ancestral roots of a nation.
The sanctuary was reconstructed in 1949 and along with the nearby Monastero di Bose offer wonderful spaces for quiet contemplation.
Landscapes that inspired poets and artists throughout the ages
It is no surprise that spectacular landscapes and the quiet pathways throughout the centuries inspired poets, musicians and religious orders
Spending hours in the heart of nature after only a few days of walking opens the heart and mind to the whispers from the universe.
You are forced to go slow up the steep inclines and then you begin to notice the small creatures on the ground such as the lizards, beetles, ants, and butterflies. When in a hurry it is easy to mindlessly trample on these small creatures who are all fighting for survival when perceiving the heavy boots of an oncoming pilgrim.
St. Francis – the original ecologist
There are numerous stories of St. Francis, the patron saint of the animals, communicating and preaching to the animals as fellow creatures of God. The saint was well known to walk long distances to spread his message and there are no numerous shrines on the Camino in Spain and along the Via Francigena dedicated to him.
St. Francis can be described as the original ecologist and his central message of social justice and greed causing harm to both the victim and the perpetrator ringing more true than ever.
Spending time in nature creates awareness on how complex the interaction of plant, insect, bird and mammal are intertwined and co-dependent on each other. Nature starts tilting into imbalance when one species gains dominance and threatens the livelihood of all others. It is offers much food for thought.
Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker
One more thing…
You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store. Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.
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