I had no idea that it would be this hard—not excruciating—but I’m aware of footcare and muscles each kilometer.
It makes me wonder at the miracle of survival and of the many angels on the road. Paulina, a stranger invited me to dance. I managed one dance and late that night she gave me the ‘second skin’ formula my blister needed. Nestor had the iodine, Susan soaked my feet.
The Camino is a spiritual walk, as well as geographical and historical journey. We Left Estella where the wine bodega of Irache on the outskirts of town had an open tap of red wine on its stone outer wall! How cool is that? Many filled their bottles but I just had a sip. It is reputed to fortify all pilgrims to make the trip. It made a real testament to the hundreds of vineyards we walk past.
The Walk or the Via Lactea (the Milky Way) is filled with miracles. We pass many ruins with signs saying they were hospitals for pilgrims. In Medival times the French encouraged the Walk and many who were sick, abandoned or just wanted to break out of their confines would travel the Way for months. Of the 7 million living in Europe in the Middle Ages, it’s estimated that 500,000 walked the Camino.
Many stories of healings there are lost with the ruins. We saw a church at San Juan de Ortega constructed so that on the equinox the sunlight of the setting sun falls directly on the Virgen in a scene of the Anunciation. To pray there at that exact time helps restore fertility to any who are infertile. Queen Isabel of Castile when childless came here in 1477 and later conceived a child. Many lives are restored on the Camino. Who am I to doubt them?
For me I am learning new strengths that I never knew of. It’s breezy and cool for most of the morning walk. I have my sprained foot taped up. We stop around noon for a snack of paella or cheese and apple. But the last 5-10k of the day deplete me. What is the lesson? I feel like a small ray of light with nothing to offer but movement and love for the beauty around me. I’m not a mother, therapist, leader, not even a Quaker. I’m just pure energy hoping my footprints can hallow the earth somehow. The end of the walk comes about 3pm and I lay with my pack on a bunk bed. Relief. Smiles of fellow pilgrims greet me. The work was not my feet, it was the stripping away and joy in just a hot shower. Simple lessons in gratitude is miraculous for me.
Happy late birthday, Minga. I don’t know if this will get to you, because there was no way to leave a comment on your most recent post and this is an old one. Hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration somewhere along the way.
Holding you both in the Light. This is so wonderful. Love your writings. Please do take care of yourselves. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxo Sally
Hi Minga and Jonathan,
You are brave to be tackling a long walk! What I have learned about my sixties is that we no longer bounce, we tear, pull, and otherwise suffer our aging bodies. Be gentle with yourselves in those last, late afternoon kms. Maybe the Spirit calls you to rest, to avail yourselves of unexpected hospitality, a road less taken, the beauty of a certain place. Be inspired, the taking in of spirit, breathing.
Your journey inspires me.
Blessings on your and Jonathan’s sore body parts. Your simplicity reminds me of the summer I spent on a Kibbutz in Israel in my college days. We basically ate the same thing for 2 meals every day. However on the Sabbath we had chicken with soup and special noodles. I was always so grateful for that meal and it taught me a lot about simplicity. Blessings on you journey. Love, Suzy
oh, the stripping away, and the joy! thank you so much, Minga, for bringing us along with you in this way. New moon and full moon, I hold you especially in my awareness. xoxo, W
thanks minga for sending your sentiments, simple pleasures, pure pain, clear perspective.
-paring down and opening up to essence of each moment. keep these tales coming.
i miss you went i swim at crystal lake, at my avp gathering, on an odd thursday when we used to have lunch. we will again. i’m with you in spirit my friend. love you betsy
Just want you and Jonathan to know that I read every post with interest and fascination and feel like I’m a little bit there with you. With love, Susan
I’m so sorry that both you and Jonathan have sprains or worse. As I’ve already said, you’re pilgrims, not martyrs, and I hope you aren’t doing damage to your injured joints by not resting enough.
I like what you say here about the smiles of the pilgrims in the refugios. Are you having an easy time finding openings for staying the night? Is it just enough at the end of or past season that everything is open and yet traffic is lower than a few weeks ago?
Again, vaya con Dios! I think of you every day.