Above is blue sky, the pale tender blue of an early spring, crossed by wisps of smoky cloud blown by a sharp breeze.

There is a call, a shrill cry, and the form of a bird of prey, long wings outstretched, drifts over the bare trees.  The grey brown of its feathers can be seen and its head moves from side to side, surveying the ground below.  There is another and another, at different heights, barely a movement of wings, yet they cover immense distances in a matter of seconds.  They are magnificent, free and beautiful.

The ground below is damp and muddy with the footprints of many sheep; several trees lie like broken giants felled by the unusually strong winds of the winter.  It is a blessing to be alive on such a day.

 To wander through life, both physically and psychologically, with no end in sight and no roots to put down, brings a sense of exploration that is neither romantic nor seeking out new experiences.  In engaging with living in this way there is an immediacy to relationships, an openness to question assumptions and a willingness to face insecurity.  It is not possible to hide behind dogma, ideology; to join any movement; to follow or to be followed; and yet if there is any separation from life then all exploration ceases

To wander; to move around; to be free; to travel; to see foreign lands; to observe; to swim in cold rivers and warm seas; to walk in mountains and forests; to see all manner of birds and animals; to listen to the voices of others; to talk to friends and strangers; to make mistakes along the road….. to be human. 

However, I am an ordinary man, somewhat cautious, neither a courageous explorer, nor a discoverer of truth.  Nevertheless, I have always been curious as to what might lie on the other side of the next hill.  I am a family man; I have not as yet uncovered any extraordinary revelations; I have not changed the world although I may have made some difference somewhere; my steps are small, almost inconspicuous, leaving the barest of footprints in the dust, sand, snow, mud and leaves.  All the same there has been movement, constant movement, the passing of time, travelling, ageing, and learning…..always learning.  Not the accumulation of knowledge, just learning: finding out, understanding; so that one word, a gesture, an observation, a reflection, has the possibility of changing the mind, opening new doors and closing old ones.  I have travelled across Europe to India, to various parts of that country and met so many people.  I have visited places in Europe, observing the different cultures.

However, I am a teacher, not of a particular subject, but of children and young people and I have been teaching for a long time.  I have discovered I know very little with certainty, and have more questions than solutions

The pilgrim, the wanderer, the teacher, has a particular responsibility; that is to observe, to listen, to question and to communicate.  How communication comes about varies from person to person.  When modern society is seen in its insanity, arrogance and stupidity, then there has to be some kind of action, and an action that does not arise from a reaction that will further contribute to the mess.  There is a slow, urgent, revolution in progress. The present stage of my pilgrimage is to question and explore the relationship between young and older people through learning and to participate in this revolution.

My pilgrimage may be one I have taken alone, but it is not a lonely journey.  My wife has been is an intricate part of these wanderings; the pattern of my life is weaved in with hers.  My children, grown and living their own lives continue to be an essential part of this exploration, and now my grandchildren form part of this delicate and fragile pattern.  The students I am with now, all the students that have come before them and those that will come after are a constant source of discovery: the wanderer learns the danger of conclusions and the illusion of knowing.

Now, in my seventh decade, the road has left more time in the past than that which will be to come.  As the leaves of the trees turn brown, become brittle and fall, and the branch’s stark beauty is outlined against the silver of the winter sky, so my wanderings will cease.  But now it is spring and there is energy and life in the air; and I am quietly treading the road of peaceful revolution.