"Whan that aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of march hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open ye (so priketh hem nature in hir corages); Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;" Geoffrey Chaucer
Or, if you don't happen to do too well with Middle English, a modern translation of Chaucer's opening lines in the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales:
Here begins the Book of the Tales of Canterbury
When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
DH and I went on a pilgrimage I have been longing to make for a few months now. My grandmother was one who, when she was physically able, kept the tradition of visiting family burial sites alive and well. She felt drawn to go, to spend some moments with kin and letting precious memories wash over her, carrying her beyond the here and now to be gathered in with those she'd loved and lost along the journey.
Although Chaucer's pilgrims set out in April, and my grandmother usually set out beginning on Memorial Day and continued on through the summer months, Saturday seemed like the day for me to make the trek to visit grandma's final resting place.
It's a peaceful spot, atop a hill outside of Turin, Iowa. The hills are lovely in any season, but were especially so on the first crisp and sunny Saturday of autumnal weather this year.
We wandered the cemetery after visiting her grave, listened to the wind and bird song afloat on the day's breezes and enjoyed being out. We found some geocaches along the way and made a few other discoveries too! (I'll save them for another day.)
I miss my grandmother. And I'm thankful to have made the pilgrimage to her final resting place.