I heard this song and thought about journeying on the Camino. Any thoughts?
Tag Archives: pilgrims
Video? – Day 33 – Molinaseca to Villafranca
Still feel like a gorilla with a computer.
I’ve been working for many days on embedding this YouTube video into this blog. I still haven’t gotten it right.
Put on headphones if you’re watching this at work.
A special shout-out to my Camino family who inspired me and helped make the final days of my Camino so enjoyable and memorable. Still have many days to go, but everything is coming together at the end.
Video nerds – I still need help. This movie was done on Picasa 3 when Microsoft Photo Gallery became too unwieldy. Any thoughts??
One Year in One Day – Day 33 – Molinaseca to Villafranca
Walking the Camino solo gave me time to think about the pleasure of choosing a family.
A Camino family.
As you walk, you pass, and are passed by, many pilgrims. Some of this occurs on the road. You stop for coffee and find yourself sharing a table with a stranger whose pack is close by. A conversation starts, and, presto, you find yourself walking together for miles.
Other times, your walking companion continues on, while you settle into a bar for lunch. Will you see each other again?
Maybe, maybe not.
Sometimes, you pass, and are passed, when you end the day.
In the albergue, you throw your sleeping bag on a bunk next to someone you’ve seen a few times over the past few miles. You talk and decide to have dinner together – maybe at a restaurant, maybe pooling resources and making a meal in the tiny albergue kitchen. The next morning, you get up and they have gone, their bunk empty without a trace that they were ever there.
There are people you keep running into again and again. At lunch, in town, leaving an albergue you discover you shared the night before. Since everyone is walking a similar route at a similar pace, it is not surprising that you run into the same people.
I had discovered that, although I enjoyed/needed people to talk to at the end of the day when settling into a town, I enjoyed walking solo. I liked getting lost in my thoughts for hours at a time. I didn’t have any particular problems to work out. I simply found that walking solo gave me lots of time to really see and enjoy my surroundings.
Walking solo made me available for adventures and experiences that would never have happened if I had been with other people, lost in conversation. The woman on the trail outside Leon? The old man and the cherry tree? Elisa and her gift?
None of those experiences would have happened if I had been with other people.
Not to mention my strange yet not uncommon “Saint-sightings.”
As I walked along, I came to appreciate the pilgrim friends I was meeting again and again. I was comfortable with the idea that we could go separate routes and, when we met again, it would be like family coming together at the end of the day. If we decided that we wanted to see different things, it would be OK to split up because we might meet again soon.
In a real family, there are actually few certainties. You can be fairly certain that your parents and your children will stick with you no matter what. But you can never be completely certain about your spouse, in-laws, others who have chosen, or have been chosen, to be part of your family. You never know for certain what is going on in the mind of your husband or wife, do you? You have faith that you do, you trust that you do. But you have no way of knowing for sure.
Your Camino family becomes a family of choice. People chose to be together. Knowing that the family has a definite end point – arrival at the final destination – your Camino family choses to stick together and to give each other space and support as needed. You allow each to accept or reject advice, conversation, insights, whatever, and not take offense.
I’ve come to the conclusion that every day of walking with someone on the Camino is the equivalent of knowing that person for one year. So, if you walk with someone for three days, it is the equivalent of knowing them for three years.
As I go through my photos, I am surprised at the number of times people who ended up being my close Camino family would be somewhere in my photos. Usually not center stage, usually in the background or a half profile here, their stuff on a bunk bed there. But circling the periphery of my relationships, nudging into my consciousness.
The Camino provided what I needed. Food, shelter, companionship, solitude, beauty, kindness, strength. All in the proper dose and at the proper time.
For me, my goofy, ridiculous, delightful, FREAKY Camino family was the manifestation of that providence.
Jeremiah Johnson Would Never Have Lost his Pants – Day 32 – Rabanal to Molinaseca
I’m feeling kind of “Jeremiah Johnson” today.
Jeremiah Johnson was a character played in the movie of the same name by Robert Redford. This character started out as a pretty “green” newcomer to the American frontier, planning to make his way as a trapper or trader or some such thing in the American Rocky Mountains.
There were few people who lived in the frontier at this time, except for the native Americans who were wary of the newcomers who were slowly but surely crowding into their space. Also, the old timers who were doing what he was just starting out to do, and had been doing it for a while.
Over time, Jeremiah Johnson learns how to fend for himself alone in the mountains. He becomes proficient at trapping and shooting. he can build his fires and keep warm as needed. He becomes a grizzled mountain man, respected by the Natives and the locals.
Slowly, he realizes how much he has learned during his time in the mountain, although he does not stop learning and, yes, making mistakes.
I’m feeling a little Jeremiah Johnson today.
I’ve met an unusual number of new peregrinos today. I’ve also run into groups of people starting out. “I just started in Leon.” “We haven’t had a day of rain!” “Wow! We’ve been walking for two days and it’s so much fun!”
Is it so wrong that I feel like smacking them?
Many of them have sent their packs ahead to the next town so they don’t have to carry them (OK if you have a legitimate physical need), Walkers arrive by taxi (ditto for physical need).
They carry light little day packs and swing big bottles of water in their hands, spritely jogging up the hills, chatting and laughing. They’ll get to the albergue long before me and I will, therefore, be unable to find a place to stay.
Yep, I’m feeling grizzled. I could just grunt in answer to their “dumb” questions. I could roll my eyes as they stop along the way and complain about their newly developing blisters. I could smile to myself as they race up the hills, knowing that I will pass them on the way down as they begin to nurse slowly disintegrating knees.
I could, but I don’t. Because, like Jeremiah Johnson, I’m still making mistakes.
Let’s put it in another way. The Camino is keeping me humble.
1. It’s a long, challenging day, 25 kilometers, all of it mountainous. To add to the challenge of the terrain, which includes lots of loose scree, the temperature goes from 5 degrees to 32 degrees Celsius today.
2. I reach the impressive Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross).
Shortly after, I come to the highest point on the Camino Frances, the Punto Alto, a heavenly 1,515 meters high and I celebrate the gorgeous view with some water, I spend several extra minutes up there. Why? Not because of the view , which is majestic, but because I can’t figure out the way down. I seem to have temporarily lost the trail. Thanks alot, St. Christopher.
3. I run out of money. Not cyber money, but real, honest-to-goodness, hold-in-your-hand, cash. And without cash, you can’t get into an albergue or buy a meal. The only cash machine in town has run out of money. I used my last euro at a wonderful lunch in Acebo. I planned to get more at the next cash machine.
St. Phil, the jokester, whom I haven’t mentioned in a while, decides to play a little trick on me instead and lets all the cash machines along the way (there aren’t many) run dry. Ha, ha.
4. My greatest tragedy happens today. It involves my beloved rain jacket.
5. After getting some money (several weird turns of events including a *gasp* ride into a city in a real car) I am enjoying my first communal meal in an albergue since day one in France.
Suddenly a guy bursts into the dining room and frantically exclaims at the top of his lungs “WHO STOLE MY PANTS!!!???”
In the moment of silence that followed, I realize that the pair of pants he is holding up as an example of his stolen pants are MY pants, which I had washed and hung to dry outside. Then, he disappears, along with my pants.
My goodness, my goodness.
Thank you, Camino.
Thank you, Saints.
How dreadfully boring my journey would be if I actually did have everything/anything under control. Instead, I chuckle as I write in my journal and review the day’s events.