Three days of rest did help my knee. Then half a day of walking on flat surfaces, put it right back to the same as my worst day. Almost constant pain with any walking. Since I first injured it, the pain was mostly walking downhill and manageable. After slogging through a day of mud it became unmanageable (meaning changing my stride did not help) It is not about avoiding pain. In Spain there are plenty of options at the farmacia (Pharmacy). They even tend to have a perigrinos section for the steady stream that limp into the door. I am concerned about what the pain is telling me about my injury worsening.
I looked deeply into my Heart… Sat with the ‘me’ that has been walking The Way. I could attempt to continue, walk short days, take meds, ship my pack, take rest days. Take as long as I need to ‘finish’? Yes, I could try this.
There are beautiful mountains ahead…. I want to feel them below my feet, not taking buses to avoid them. I want to feel walking, tired yet excited, into Santiago de Compostela. Then beyond, I want to know the experience of the first glimpse of The Sea as I walk to Finisterre.
This was never about ‘doing’ The Camino de Frances… It is about Being in the moment.
It took facing my ego and my pride to get below the mask. Then the choice was simple. I want to walk My Way or not at all. And My Way remains: Walking with my pack… Following the path wherever it takes me. Stopping (or not) when and where I choose in the moment. Walking every step, not as an accomplishment… Walking every step to feel every step.
This beautiful simplicity of walking, day after day, which I fell in love with, is the magic of The Way.
Now… I say ‘leaving is hard’. This is a gross understatement. I cried half the night. This morning, as the other pilgrims in the Alburgue packed up and headed out into a perfect-for-walking day. Cold, blue sky…. No rain in sight for days. The tears came again. Then over breakfast, as I sent a message about my decision to one of my Camino Heart Sistas’… I cried again. I think the man who made my cafe’ con leche’ was a little concerned. Although, I imagine peregrinos crying over their cafe’ con leche’ is not an unusual sight.
To get to the train station, I had to walk about 1 km ‘backwards’ on The Camino. The first time doing so. Walking against the steady stream of peregrinos was also hard… Lots of questioning looks. Then two Australian women (I have so many Aussie Camino friends!) asked me where I was going. I told them the train station and why… She said ‘you made it this far… good on ya’!!! You know what was next, more tears and hugs all around. (And I had never seen them before). I am going to miss these people so very very much!
I thought about staying in Spain or somewhere else in Europe for a while. But it does not feel appealing. Anything would involve walking and I am far from being in ‘tourist’ mode. I also want the healing of my knee to begin.
So home to figure out exactly what my injury is. In Alburgues most often you sleep in bunk beds. Last night on the bunk above me was a surgeon from The Netherlands. He did an assessment of my knee. Like the physical therapist and physician before him (pilgrims helping pilgrims) he was reassuring regarding tendonitis/strain vs a tear. And what do you do for moderate to severe tendonitis? Why rest of course. Walking another 250 miles is not quite considered ‘rest’.
(A side note about the surgeon, I watched him use a pocket knife to deal with his multiple blisters on his feet. I didn't think I wanted him to use the Swiss Army Knife for any exploratory surgery on my knee!)
So I hope it is just tendonitis and it will heal with extended rest and this summer I can slowly begin to strengthen again. (Damn it pisses me off to think of losing the strength I now have!) Yep, I am sad and angry.
My Camino is not over. I have walked almost half. The other half will wait for me to return. The Camino has been patiently waiting for peregrinas for a very long time. I think I will begin at that arch over the road in Castrojeriz.
As I said in a prior post… This summer is for writing. I also have so many stories and reflections to share about walking The Camino, my Way. More will follow…
GreyWolff Walking (albeit slower and without yellow arrows) The Way Continues….
(About Shadow Dancing and Ghost Bridges)
Later... I have not yet written much about my experience with Mary on The Camino. It’s a weaving story that will take some time. Yet, I can share this… I was on the train for about 6 hours today… There is something about trains.
I didn’t sleep much last night and as I watched out the train window, getting a bit drowsy, I had another chat with Mary. In my despair at not being able to walk The Camino any more...
I asked... Why?!