My ‘miles per day’ includes everything. Walking into a town for mid-morning, cafe’ con leche’, going down a side path to a perfect picnic spot or even climbing up 3 flights to the top floor in an albergue (pilgrim hostel). It will differ from the ‘official’ miles between towns, yet perhaps better reflect an actual day, on your feet, on The Camino.
Also of note… This is my Camino. My Way. If you are considering ‘talking a long walk’… It will be different. I invite you to make it your own!
The morning was crisp, perfect for walking when I left town by walking over the beautiful bridge. It was built in the 11th century to ease the journey of and make safer for, the pilgrims walking on The Way. This morning as I walked over it, I saw a rainbow in the distance. It felt like a blessing.
Interestingly as I paused and stood on top of the bridge, I could sense within myself the ‘its morning… time to GO’. I continue to become increasingly aware of how strong the ‘GO’ impulse is within my being. As this was just the beginning of my second week on The Camino, I simply observed it and leaned away from analyzing.
This day also bought me to another ‘ghost bridge’. As I was already stirred up from my dreams the night before, it was easy to recognize. When I arrived, 6-7 other pilgrims were there, eating lunch and resting. I felt a strong draw to the place. None of the other pilgrims had english as a primary language so it was easy to just sit and feel the place. The draw was deep enough I stayed until everyone else left. I had some whispers to hear there.
(‘Ghost bridges/paths’ is a follow up or deepening of my exploration last year with Shadow Dancing. It is turning into a central experience of walking The Camino and I will write much more when the words move to the surface. Now, I observe, experience and feel.)
I had planned to go to the next town but when I walked into Vilatuerta and saw a sign for ‘La Casa Magica’ and my knee began to spasm. I do not need anymore encouragement than that! I walked into a beautiful welcoming refuge. Snatam Kaur was playing. I was immediately offered a chair, water and a cookie. Right behind me walked in a Camigas friend who to that moment, I had only met on Facebook. She too felt called to this special place.
Like I experienced the first day out of Pamplona, there is something about these expansive spaces that accentuate my sense of ‘alone’. It is a bit of an internal paradox that I recognize. I actually love being alone with space all around me… I recognize the ‘one’ that is beyond words. The Divine is easily felt… Yet also present, is the slight ache to share the wonder ‘with’…
I will probably have to repeat this multiple times in these ‘notes’. It is hard to talk about other people, especially in a public blog without the following caveat: When I facilitate workshops and retreats I often tell participants that there are people there who you need to meet… I also say it is the people you are most drawn to, and the people who ‘rub you wrong’. Especially is they elicit a reaction. They are mirrors full of information. I follow this ‘teaching’ myself. So now and anytime I share uncomfortable situations with people, I know it is ultimately not about them. They are offering me a mirror. A way to see myself or the circumstance in a new or deeper way.
The Camino is full of mirrors. Both people I am drawn to and people I react to. With reaction, it is my intent to keep it internal and observe my reaction for what it has to teach me.
Facebook and Camino Forums are a great way to learn from and meet other pilgrims before walking. I knew of many people who would be walking about the same time.
This day on My Way I met another person who I had only interacted with on Facebook. We have a great deal in common and thus she was someone I was looking forward to meeting in person. After I met her and the person she was walking with, I made the choice to walk with them, anticipating a conversation. We walked together for a bit and I began to realize the conversation was quite one-sided. I asked her about herself yet no questions about me were returned. We probably walked together for about 20 minutes and when I slowed down for a short downhill stretch (my knee) at the bottom she was long gone. Not even a parting word.
I found myself feeling discarded and (my shadow) abandoned. Or even my deeper Shadow. Not seen. About that time, I came to a place to sit, so did so next to a beautiful field.
I sat and felt all that was flowing/reacting inside of me. I observed, felt and then released. The birds were singing… The beauty of the earth was awe inspiring. I gently leaned away from ‘alone’ and breathed into The Divine One. I looked around… And remembered… I am never ‘alone’. I sent silent gratitude to my mirror… Got up and… Walked.
Vilamayor de Monjardin to Torres del Rio. 13.57 miles.
Joining the Tribe.
Torres del Rio to Logrono
The first thing that happened these two days was I faced my physical vulnerabilities and made the choice to ship my pack ahead. I reached a ‘choice point’ of how to proceed with my increasingly unhappy knee. Walking these two days felt great although not pain free so
I made that choice while in Logrono.
It could have been a response to my sense of ‘alone’ and/or simple timing but these two days I also found myself with a core group of pilgrims. While I still walked by/with myself, often at break stops on The Way and every evening I was with the same people. Several small groups that combined into a larger group.
I did enjoy these evenings. Sharing stories, laughing, eating and drinking together. Nice people, some of whom I had first met many days back. When I got to Logrono I stayed in an alburgue outside of the central part of the city where most of the pilgrim alburgue’s were.
On arrival into Logrono, I found myself feeling and being cranky. I was feeling this underlying irritability. When I first arrived at the alburgue, the hospitalalero (host), with almost no english and my little Spanish, saw my knee brace, sat me down, gave me water and a cookie (such a lovely gesture when tired) yet she went a bit further, she went to the freezer and gave me a bag of peas for my knee. Heaven. I decided I would stay a day in Logrono, figure out what was next, and see if I could let go of the irritability. And again, while it had nothing to do with the lovely people of ‘the tribe’ I was simply ready to step out of the party.
Having a conversation with my knee.
Logrono to Navarrete.
My Joy returns!
I left Logrono on a beautiful clear day. Settled into my new lighter pack and continued careful attention to what my knee wanted and how to walk with the wound. I should clarify, it really is not my knee joint, which is a very good thing. It is the ligament/muscles on the lower outside of my knee. Our wounds teach us so much, they have a very specific voice. Walking all day is an excellent education in listening.
At that moment, I was literally standing next to an alburgue so I walked in. It turned out to be an alburgue attached to a nice hotel. It is a small, beautiful, sweet apartment with 8 beds, it looked out directly onto the town square and a Mary Cathedral. The best part was only 4 of us shared it and I had perhaps the best conversation I have had since being on The Way. A woman who is definitely a sista' (daughter) of the Heart & Spirit and her sweet man plus a radiant man from Chicago. Sharing making dinner in the kitchen, with great music playing. A sweet, lovely Heart flowing connection.
If you allow it… The Way offers challenges and mirrors. Not always comfortable or pretty… Although… Flowing with insight and wisdom!
Only the end of week two… Wow, just getting started!