Perhaps it’s an appropriate time to discuss loss.
Amongst the most affecting images I took on my Camino – images that really hit me hard – were the shots I took of the photographs of loved ones left on markers, tucked into wire fences, placed inside roadside shrines, and of course attached to the Cruz de Ferro.
I was reminded that for so many people, the Camino is a pilgrimage walk of bereavement. A time of infinite sadness, seeking solace for the loss of someone dearly loved, sorely missed.
Sometimes these photographs were simply placed on the top of a stone mileage marker, weighed down by a rock, and whenever I saw them I would stop, and look at the face in the photo.
I would wonder who that person was, how had he or she died? And who put the photo there? Was it a son or daughter? Was it a father or mother, or friend or lover?
Sometimes I saw a pilgrim stop by a cross or memorial by the side of the track, and they would pray. I wondered if they too were carrying the heavy loss of a loved one with them.
The Camino is there for each of us, not just for achievement or personal growth, but for solace, and for healing, and for forgiveness.