The word kechigan indicates the end of one’s pilgrimage, after visiting all 88 temples. As of today, I visites 87 of them, and collected as many stamps. Only one blank page remains on my stamp book: something I intend to fix tomorrow.
I remember the night before I reached Santiago, in 2013. I was so excited that I woke up at 4 AM and started to walk during the night, so that I could arrive at my destination as soon as possible.
This time, however, I will follow my regular schedule. Only 12,7 Km divide me from Ōkuboji, the 88th temple, but, before that, I will need to negotiate a steep climb to the top of Mount Nyotai. The last challenge, before getting the ultimate reward.
Today, I cleared as fast as I could the four temples I had on my “kill list”. Climbing to Yashimaji, the 84th temple, went pretty smoothly thanks to a nice paved road that brings you there in a rather short time. Going down from the hill, though, was more painful than I first thought.
I felt super clumsy (or afraid of fucking everything up right before the end), as the path was quite steep and trecherous. I hate going down much more than climbing up. It put a lot of stress on my knees and, by the time I was down the hill, they started to hurt at every step I took.
It doesn’t matter. They will hold. One more day.
The weather was great today. The desire for taking a bath was real, although the sea water seemed quite dirty. Takamatsu is a pretty big city and has a very busy port: two factors that don’t make up for great bathing spots.
At the 85th temple, Yakuriji, I visited one of the so-called “Mini Shikoku Pilgrimage Site”. It’s a summary of the o-henro with all the temples displayed by a statue of the main deity that is worshipped in each one of them.
It’s weird to think that I went to all of them, but one. It’s a lot of temples!
Tomorrow the forecast is warm and sunny: I couldn’t ask for better circumstances to complete my pilgrimage.
The nights before something you’ve been dreaming for so long actually happens, are always the longest. For once, you would like to fast-forward time, instead of constantly longing to rewinding it.
Take it easy and stay focused, as you have done so far.
One step at a time.