The Goetheanum was built during the first world war in neutral Switzerland using wood from all over the Europe and was a highly complex symbol of peace and humanity. Right through the war people from different countries travelled to bring materials and to work on the giant domed wooden building which was full of amazing carvings and painted inside. Every type of wood used in different parts had symbolism.
After it was burnt down, Rudolf Steiner designed a new building made out of concrete, and that building, more angular and imposing than its predecessor, is now an important cultural and spiritual center.
After a tasty healthy dinner we retire to the wood and cushion-filled lounge.
“I was 48 when I set out on my walk across Europe.” Karin told me.
“How long were you walking?” I asked.
“It took 6 months, to Dover, then Ostend, across Belgium, through Luxemburg and Germany to Dresden, and through the Czech Republic to Prague. I wrote a book about the journey.”
“What’s it called so i can look it up afterwards?” I asked.
“Touching the Horizon – A woman’s Pilgrimage across Europe to the Castle by the Golden City.” she said.
“Fantastic! What was it like when you finished?” I asked.
“I couldn’t stop actually. I was walking all the time, then I went for a walk with a friend and broke my ankle.”
“Yes, silly, to have walked all that way and just near home I turned to speak to my friend, wasn’t paying attention and fell. It was good in a way, because I needed to stop.”
“Yeah, but not like that.” I said with sympathy.
Karin works as an art therapist and runs a support group for people with chronic conditions or who care for others. Both Bernard and Karin communicated with very open and friendly body language and their manner was very caring. Karin took me to their office and showed me a bookcase full of maps.
She lent me the next maps for the journey and as with the one’s I got from libraries, I would post them back when I was done. The problem I had encountered with libraries was that they never had the local maps in stock, only those further away. I later learned to get into the habit when in a city, of stocking up on the maps for further ahead. Village libraries often only had OS maps as reference copies, not to lend, so I would have to photocopy pages. At this point I was using the large scale walking maps, getting through them quickly and carrying more weight.
Even though I’d come to like Stroud very much, I felt relief when I put my pack back on and got walking. Three nights in one place was the limit. I wanted to keep moving, to keep meeting, learning and discovering. It was beginning to feel addictive. Every time I ‘captured’ a wonderful interview or met a special person it was giving me a high. Even if sometimes I knew that I didn’t fully understand the significance of what I’d heard.
Sometimes it is impossible for you to see or understand an event or concept, it is too far outside what you know, but with time and repeat exposure it may come. Take the concept of extinction. Men simply could not understand that they had killed, for all time, the infinite-seeming dodos or passenger pigeons. That they were gone. Forever. It did not compute to them.
We create stories and concepts to help us make sense of our observations, but when new observations come along that do not fit the existing story we have great difficulty letting that story go.