I left late this morning – 8:30am. I had some business stuff to attend to before I left, and also I was in no rush. I had the whole day to walk to Astorga, about 24 kms away. I was looking forward to getting to Astorga, not only because it's meant to be a beautiful town (and it is), it's also two thirds of the way to Santiago.
I looked at the map of Spain last night and couldn't believe how far I've walked so far.
Anyway, I set out, noticing that the temperature on the town's electronic gauge said 2 degrees C, and found that the path lead away from the highway down some beautiful tracks.
I stopped by an old abandoned shed in a field. It had a yellow arrow on it, and it just looked beautiful, so I took some shots. As I was doing this, a couple who'd stayed at my albergue last night walked up, with puzzled expressions on their faces.
What are you taking a photo of, they asked.
I nodded to the shed. Isn't is beautiful, I said. The simplicity of it.
They looked at the shed like they were looking at a Jackson Pollock painting, trying to figure out why it's worth $100m.
The man turned to me. It's simple, alright, he said, but it ain't beautiful.
He slapped me on the back sympathetically, the subtext being that I should get back on my medication really fast. Then he walked on, sneaking a relieved glance at his wife, as if they were lucky to be getting away from me with their heads still attached to their bodies.
I looked back at the shed. The guy was right. It was an old decaying farmer's shack, with a busted window. It was hardly the Sydney Opera House. Or the Chrysler Building. Or the Palace of Versailles. Yet I saw beauty in it, and he didn't.
He's a businessman from Newfoundland. I'm a film director. We see the world differently. There are things he would find beautiful that would probably not impact on me. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
Every day, I'm astonished at the beauty around me, and that sustains me on this walk.
I'm sure that other people don't see the Camino the same way I do – I have a particular visual aesthetic. Everyone does. Some people see beauty in sunsets or sunrises. I don't. Some people see beauty in vast vistas. I see beauty in old doors and bales of hay.
But we all see beauty. That's the thing. And it feeds us in the subtlest of ways.
The day I walked 41 kms, what kept me going was the beauty. The beauty of the changing light, the beauty of the storm clouds, the beauty of the fields and the colours.
The beauty took away my fatigue. It took away my pain. It made me feel light. It energised me. It RELAXED me.
For me, beauty is like love. It affects you emotionally in similar ways. It affects you chemically. You shift into a different space. You disengage from the real world. You do feel lighter. You do feel stronger. You find yourself doing things you wouldn't ordinarily do.
For me, every day I see beauty on the Camino.
Here's some of what I saw today: