The Way works in the subtlest of… well… ways.
Today is our 9th day, and I see amongst the group several people starting to open up, starting to reassess their lives, starting to question their way of doing things.
I won’t go into specifics, because of issues of privacy – however I see the Camino really starting to work on them – get into their bones, into their souls.
Many will leave this Camino having undergone some fundamental changes.
Will these changes be permanent? Who knows. That’s the challenge, once you leave the Camino. And perhaps it’s one of the reasons why so many like to come back.
As Steve said the other day, the Camino is not the real world. I agree, it’s not – but maybe you need to step outside the real world for a while to see how unreal your real world is.
Only then can change happen.
Couples who’ve walked together the past week are now, quite amicably, wanting to walk alone. They need the “alone” space to think things through. The other respects that. And often the other wants that time alone too.
Allegiances have shifted. So too the dynamics between people. It’s subtle, and fascinating to observe.
What about me? Have I undergone any changes?
It seems my changes this time – or at least the lessons I’m learning – are coming to me through the refraction of others.
There have been a few occasions when one of the group has broken down and started crying – not because the walk has been tough. Not because their feet hurt. But because they’ve suddenly faced a realisation they’d been denying for so long. Or they’ve suddenly seen a way forward that hadn’t been apparent before. Or they’ve suddenly understood a universal truth that hadn’t been clear before.
Or they suddenly realise they’re surrounded by love. Their emotional overload has required a release. And so they cry. And they feel much better for it.
It’s only been a relatively short period of time – but it’s been an intense time – and some of our group have had, or are having, some deeply affecting experiences. Some have had experiences that cannot be easily explained.
Would all this have happened if we’d walked across Tasmania for 9 days? Or the South Island of New Zealand? I doubt it. This stuff is a product of the Camino – the ancient energetic lay line that seeps up through the ancient stones, that swoops down from the lichen covered stone crosses, and wheedles its way into your heart.
Today I felt great.
Yesterday I felt crap.
Last night I was woken periodically by insistent pain from my left heel. Sharp stiletto pain.
I got up, put Betadine on some of the reddened skin – it hurt like hell, but I went back to sleep thinking it would do some good. It didn’t. I took Ibuprofen, against my better judgement. But it worked. It put me back to sleep.
When I woke at 7am, all the pain was gone, and I felt like I could walk half way across Spain again.
Today’s walk was short – only 13kms – from Arcade through to the old pilgrimage town of Pontevedra.
Leaving Arcade was beautiful – fresh clean light as we crossed the old Roman Bridge leading out of town. I walked with Donna and Greg and Julie this morning. I hadn’t spent much time with them up until today.
Greg dropped off the pace – he wanted to walk by himself for a while – so Donna and Julie and I kept going, chatting all the time – marvelling at the beauty around us.
After about three and a half hours walking we stooped at a small cafe to have breakfast. I had my requisite Coke Zero and ice, times two – plus some yummy scrambled eggs. The Spanish do eggs amazingly well.
Tim and Cathy – our two friends from Virginia in the US – walked up and we chatted for a while.
We’ve been criss crossing paths for near on a week now. Cathy very kindly read my book, liked it, and on my handwringing insistence she wrote a very sweet review. Tim last year walked the Appalachian Trail – some 3000kms. This Camino must be easy peasey for him.
Julie, Donna and I got to Pontevedra before midday –
i did my laundry, did some work chores, waited for my beautiful wife to arrive then we wandered around the old town.
Jennifer can’t walk past a church without walking into it. Pontevedra has a church dedicated to Camino pilgrims. The church seats have a res scallop shell etched into them.
We only have three more days walking before we get to Santiago. It’s all happened so fast. But a lot has happened, a lot has changed.
That’s the magic of the Camino.