As I Fall Asleep

IMGP4500I hear the gentle snoring of people falling asleep.

I hear grown men in bunk beds laughing uncontrollably like school boys at summer camp, one softly saying a word that sends the others into giggling fits. Then the other whispers something that leads to even stronger bed-shaking hilarity. On and on. I know tears flood their eyes – they are hysterical yet trying soooo hard not to wake anyone  up.

I hear the creaking of  upper bunk beds and mentally assess how new the beds are and the weight of my own upper bunkmate.

I hear women snoring. Yes, it happens.

I hear sleeping bag zippers being zipped slowly to not disturb people. Unfortunately, like undoing velcro, it can’t be done silently.

I recall the sound and sight of a group of gray-haired, slow-moving grandmothers laughing uproariously like teenagers, in the showers at the end of the day.

I smell the sickly sweet odor of that God-awful ointment that someone is rubbing on their feet and calves. Do they know how horrible it smells? I will never get that “fragrance” out of my brain.

I smell the body odor of those who don’t wash themselves and/or their clothes.

I hear the soft pad of bare feet on the tile floor as people head into bed after lights out.

I hear the loud clunk of something accidentally falling out of an upper bunk in the dimness as a person tries to roll over.

I hear the echo of a group talking and laughing down the hall in the living area.

I see the light of someone reading an e-book in bed.

I hear the very soft scratch of someone writing in a journal.

I see soft twilight still glowing at 1030 at night. For a night owl like me, it is perfection and I smile.



Camino minus 29 Days – Grand Malaise


The definition of “malaise” is “a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness, whose exact cause is difficult to identify.”

My training plan was to walk a few miles every day and I usually do. Today, however, I just couldn’t get the energy. Not enough sleep? Too much walking? Bad breakfast?

I don’t know but I couldn’t get it together until too late in the day to go out.

I have the feeling I have things on my mind simmering too far below the surface to be thought through, yet too close to the surface to be ignored. I feel restless, but can’t move.

The Camino has me in a holding pattern. There isn’t much I can do to get ready now except walk.

I have my backpack and my boots are on the way. I don’t need any more clothes (OK, maybe a new pair of pants and a warm weather shirt).  I have five pairs of socks.

The other things I need to pack are all minor – gloves, Compeed, zip-loc bags.

I’ve read books and articles about the Camino, been a Camino Forum member and asked questions of experienced “peregrinos.”

I’ve watched videos on YouTube and I’ve made the few reservations that I need.

I have walked the miles to Patch often enough that, although still challenging, I know I can do it. I’ve participated in long Volksmarches.

I’ll wash and waterproof my ol’ faithful red rain jacket.

I’m running out of ways to prepare. I am in danger of overpreparing.

Because I’ll be gone for five weeks, I can’t get involved in long-term projects (the theater, learning long-arm quilting, developing a plan to teach) until I return.

With only a month to go, I don’t have time to get involved in short-term projects either  (making a quilt, starting an on-line class, starting just about anything).

I’m on the runway waiting for launch.

I looked up the definition of pilgrimage and came up with several suggestions.

” . . . a journey to a place associated with someone or something well known or respected . . . ” – New Oxford American Dictionary

” . . . a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance . . .” – Wikipedia

” . . . a journey in which one travels a distance to pay their respects to a religious icon . . . ” –

” . . . a ritual journey with a hallowed purpose . . . ” – Illuminated Journey

” . . . a long journey or search, especially on of exalted purpose or moral significance . . . ” – the Free Dictionary

” . . . invitations from God to visit spiritual locations and signposts left behind by God . . . ” –

” . . . a personal invitation from God . . . ” –

Surprisingly, some of the most heartfelt and thoughtful came from tour companies selling trips to pilgrimage sites.

I hope that tomorrow I have the energy to get out and do what I need to do. Tomorrow is my big trek day of the week (walk to Patch) and the more I do it, the less I look forward to it. I know the parts that are hard and don’t want to do them. I know the parts that are boring and long to take my headphones.

I know I have to go if the weather is rainy, or wet, or cold and I just DON’T WANT TO DO IT!

I need a good night’s sleep.