It is the ninth day on the Camino and I’ve been putting in some long miles totaling seventeen, eighteen, even twenty at a time.
A pilgrim’s day goes something like this: Out on the Camino by 7am. You stop at the first village that offers a place to eat which usually consists of bread, cheese with maybe a piece of fruit and, of course, coffee. From here there’s a walk of four to five hours stopping for about 30 minutes to grab a bite for lunch. Then the walk continues for another two more hours finally arriving at a place to rest for the day at about 2:30-3:00pm. There’s always a room to take shelter for the night where we take a shower and put on some clean clothes. Once this is done hiking clothes must be washed out before grabbing a short rest. Then it’s time for dinner and what a dinner it is! The evening meal, usually referred to as the pilgrim’s menu, consists of soup, salad, paella, or pasta with a main entrée of pork, fish, beef, or lamb. Then dessert is served and always as part of this wonderful meal there is bread and wine.
After dinner it’s back to the room to sleep after a very long day.
The pictures are of pilgrims on the Camino and the hostel I’m at today
They say the first ten days on the Camino are physical which means it is all about the aches and pains of walking 15 to 20 miles a day in rain and heat with climbs and descents.
The Second part of the hike is mental and the 3rd part is spiritual. As of today I’m guessing I’m still in the physical phase with hurting, tired feet.
Last night I stayed in an albergue (shelter) that is operated by a Christen group. I joined many others at the evening meditation and reflected on the people who over the centuries have aided pilgrims on the Camino. I’ve come to realize a deep appreciation for these benevolent people.
I found the same spirit when I hiked the Appalachian trail although on the Appalachian Trail they are called “Trail Angels.” I’m certain these folks here along the Camino are Trail Angels too.
What could be a better topic for Memorial Day weekend than Peace?
In years of spiritual pursuit and meditation, I visited Peace periodically and had a glancing awareness that it exists. But it wasn’t until I learned about the 3 Principles that I started rooting myself in it, and realizing that it was never missing or “out there” but seated right beneath all the commotion I was creating in thought.
More recently, I notice when I am NOT peaceful. It feels foreign to be in my old whirlwind, and my inner observer will usually question what’s going on. Disturbing the Peace only happens in one place … between my ears!
We are in the Pyrennes. I did about 15 miles in the rain, thunder, lightening, and hail. Fortunately the trail was pretty gentle and it isn’t cold so I just enjoyed the beauty of the Spanish countryside and the rain. I stopped in Zubiri because we heard the hostel Albergue, in our destination town Larassoana is full. Best decision to date. Free Wi-fi and a place to dry our clothes.
Yesterday was a long thirteen mile uphill climb, then a 3 mile steep downhill from St Jean Pied do Port to Roncevalles. I walked over a couple of passes where the wind was wild. As I travelled I reflected on what pilgrims over the last 1,000 years must have thought which was probably what we were thinking today, “It’s a long climb. I’m getting tired. My feet are starting to hurt.”
Last night we went to mass for the blessing of the pilgrims. Again I was struck by the realization that I was standing in a place where pilgrims for over 600 years have received a blessing for a safe camino.
When you push your physical limits and know you have to drop some thought about what you can do to continue then there is an opening, a brief gap, like a ray of sunshine to see something you had not considered before. Then at the end, whatever that may be, you are pleased to know you did it. And you are changed. I don’t know what that will be on this pilgrimage but I know it will be something.
Me after I put on some dry clothes, enjoyed a latte and 2 glasses of wine. Buen Camino
The day after I wrote the poem “Hindsight” posted here, my friend Dean Rees-Evans posted the Shel Silverstein verse, “The Voice”. Together, they describe my week perfectly!
I had a rather major decision to make, and after gathering all my facts, sat down quietly to listen to that wonderful inner guidance. Having a clear and sure sense of my right decision, I followed Wisdom’s lead, and made the decision. I aspire to do this always, and had it stopped there, all would have been great, but nooooo!
In hindsight, I began to second-guess myself!
After about two days of driving myself crazy with the mental jibberish, I found again the willingness to get quiet. What a clear message! Wisdom does not follow up with a clear and detailed explanation of why this was the best path for me! Following guidance does not come with guarantees, atta-girls, or retrospective clarity. Having listened and followed, it is now mine to get on with life and let it be.
This morning I woke early to get ready for a day at a coastal preserve with good friends. Needless to say, I am in anticipation, thinking of the day to come. How appropriate that as I thumbed through files for my weekly blog, I come across this reminder about the beauty of the present moment!
Time travel is one of my favorite mental exercises. I replay tapes from the 1950s, trying to get the past to turn out better than it did. Then I leap to the future and use my powerful imagination to visualize what is yet to come. Every once in a while, I remember to drop in to the present, where life is actually happening. Here I find contentment, inspiration, and sheer joy. Which takes me back to wondering, why don’t I visit here more often? Oops, I did it again!
At this time of year, seeing the birds building their nests and the trees budding and flowering, I am reminded everywhere of the amazing intelligence of life that powers our planet. In keeping with this theme, it seemed appropriate to share with you what I learned from Green Tomatoes. We humans are always trying to be somewhere we’re not. What if we just noticed the perfection of the status quo?