In 1899, W.B. Yeats, the Irish mystic poet, published a short but powerful poem, Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven:
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Our choir just sang a very moving arrangement of the poem by Z. Randall Stroope. It was a favourite of many of us. My wife quoted the last line of the poem to me as I was starting off yesterday.
The speaker of the poem is the character Aedh. Aedh is pale, lovelorn, and in the thrall of La belle dame sans merci.
I am not like Aedh. I am not pale nor forlorn.
I am enthralled with my wonderful wife and have been for nearly 44 years and more. It is she who suggested this venture of mine. It is she who continues to encourage, support, and make possible my hike.
It is she whom I sadly parted from this morning as I set off alone with my full pack for the next 41 days. I do not tread on her dreams, nor does she tread on mine. We tread with each other’s dreams.