Day 6 – As you walk the Camino…

A Camino “sign”

NAVARETTE – A few days I heard the expression

“As you walk The Camino” so will you in life after.”

It doesn’t seem like this change happens all at once, or at least that has not been my experience.  I began walking the way I had walked through life, and The Camino was a gracious host, letting me walk it my way, but a few hours, or was it a few days I felt its influence; pushing me to change, if I wanted to learn its way.

A real Pilgrim, I will tell her story tomorrow

Today the landscape was largely urban, the influence of the relatively large city of Logrono.  The path was asphalt or fine gravel, and to either side, cut grass.  Gone were the wildflowers and rocks.  Someday, I’ll write a post “things to do with rocks,” but it won’t feature any pictures from today.  The landscape has been managed, and but for the reservoir, a boring soul-sucking walk.  It was a hot, barren side of the highway Camino.

A beautiful park, a pleasant change to what is coming next.

I guess it didn’t help that I got started after 10am so the sun was well up.  I was delayed by sending back clothing I was not using, and letting go of blister tape and antiseptic, dropping my pack weight by a pound, but honestly, I don’t feel a difference other than mentally.

The Camino road.

Planning for the trip had me doing 20-30km/day (12-18 miles), but I have not been able to manage anything that far, unlike the people who pass me. It is a twin problem of walking slowly and stopping to snap pictures.  This is my third day of walking alone. Pilgrims I started with are now several days ahead of me.  I think about them as I pass things we might have talked about, wondering how they are. I say a prayer for them.  It feels like I’m falling behind, but as one reminded me there was no right way to walk the Camino, only the way that was made for you.  For me, hurry and The Way are incompatible.

Along the freeway there was a fence of crosses

On one of the long hills I meet The Marys, Mary and MaryAnna, from California.  Both have worked together and MaryAnna just retired. They came to this portion of the Camino to ask what is next.  Last fall they did the Leon-Santiago segment, and now are picking up the St. Jean to Leon part they missed.  MaryAnne has a special relationship with The Camino and speaks her wisdom with authority, in a German accent, that sounds very wise.  Tomorrow I will learn the other Mary retires in December and this is their third/fourth Camino, having done the Portuguese Way, and another years ago.

The Marys

We attend the Pilgrim’s Mass, and after receive a blessing by the priest who wants to meet each of us after the service.

The Pilgrim Mass

After worship, the Priest blessed us, and then asks esch of us where we are from.

At dinner MaryAnna says

“Once you accept the suffering, the change begins.  That is the beauty of The Camino.”

I have been asking about the pain, how long will it last?  (Mary says two weeks).  Mostly it’s my middle back, hurting in the afternoon and nothing but a nap seems to fix it.  I’m six days in, and they see the concern on my face.  The sky is a deep iridescent blue and we all pause to admire it.

Church Sky

“You don’t fight it, you dance with it” MaryAnna adds and goes on about the intrinsic value of suffering, something I don’t get but fear I will come to over the next week, if Mary’s timetable holds.  “There is no short cut,” she says but now she is not talking about pain, but the process of learning The Way. Maybe that’s what she has been talking about all along.

“As you walk The Camino” so will you in life after.”

Fin.

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