“Walking I’m listening to a deeper way… All my ancestors are behind me, “be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands which come before you.” Linda Hogan
Why am I doing the Camino? I have a meaningful job, a loving family, and good health. Many others come in confusion, some come after nasty divorces. A woman (75) last night at dinner said that she liked her husband but she preferred that he died. No wonder she’s walking the Camino for the 3rd time. Many come between changing jobs. One pilgrim from Madrid said he got promoted in his company and they insist when your assignment changes that you take 3 weeks off to ‘clear your head and come with a fresh perspective.’ Some come after a loved one has died.
I certainly have learned a lot. Walking is a wonderful meditation for me. I don’t even know if I’ll enjoy driving again. As I walk, I watch subtle changes of energy. After laughing or a caring conversation I keep walking with more lightness, joy. One day I walked with a Miami woman born in Cuba. She had such hardened and bitter feelings toward Cuba and Castro. After listening to her anger and sharing my experience I felt more tired, my feet were leaden. I wanted to stop and soothe myself. Walking with plenty of silence alerts me to changes of tempo in my spirit.
Random points of interest:
Since learning Spanish one of my favorite words is ‘zanahoria’ meaning carrot. On the Camino I have two other fav words: zumo means freshly squeezed juice. It’s the best when sweaty and hiking rough roads. Another word is frescita, which means cool air, as in—it’s brisk outside, or frescita.
There are a plethora of statues of Mary, the mother, around here. This is good because most images of Jesus are very bloody and I only glance at them. I truly am Quaker because my soul is sickened by them—I can’t get past the violence. But Mary, well. I’ve seen her as a girl, hugely pregnant, black, brown, sweet, joyful, resigned, pained and snowy white. I’ve seen her as a pilgrim and as a Queen. Also I see statues of her with a ball in one hand, with baby Jesus on her lap. I wondered if that ball was the world. but no, it’s a apple. Mary redeemed Adam and Eve’s eating of the apple and disobeying God. Did you know that? Sometimes it seems that Mary is more powerful, or at least, more worshipped than Jesus. But I’m not catholic, so what do I know?
We walk through quiet villages that are losing their young adults to the city. The roses bloom tall. I’ve decided the bigger the roses in the yard, the stronger the smell of the cows. Pigs seem to be worshipped here. We learned all about the ornate corncribs (pig fodder) that dominate front yards in Galicia. The fresh cheese here is a delight to my vegetarian stomach.
If you walk 4 kilometers an hour in the beginning of the day, you can expect to walk 2k an hour at the end of the day.
HURRAY! Jonathan and I have walked to the most western point of Spain, Finisterra. Here the coast is rugged with toothy points of land jutting into the sea. We ate chocolate starring down At the aqua blue water. A sprightly German man put a message in the bottle and tossed it far down the slope. Don’t we all want to send messages far to distance lands, and in the future to the next generations? My message to you from this remote beautiful land is that Love and Beauty abound even in the darkest nights and the rockiest cliffs.