Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Faces At the Gate
April still feels rather like March, temperature-wise, but if you look at the traffic out there on the trail, The Season is definitely upon us. Pilgrims: tall, small, on bikes and ponies or their own two feet, all alone or in pairs or packs, streaming on westward all through the day. We´ve provided a bit more clarity on where we are located, with a little sign in the plaza and a nice plaque out front of the place.
So some of the throng are finding their way to our gates. And not just the strangers, either. With the warm weather also come old friends, old pilgrims, familiar faces.
Marianne the Swiss was here yesterday, breezing through on her way to Asturias. She is forever refreshing and deep, and she has a delightful way of grinding together Spanish, German, and English that makes me know I am not so bad after all!
I´ve mentioned Kim to you. She´s been staying here since I returned from the Camino trek, doing a sort of retreat while she decides where he life ought to go. Her quiet assistance has reminded me of how delicious life can be when you have Good Help on Hand. I feel much less frazzled, and I manage to achieve a lot more in the same amount of time as before. Everything on the domestic front just slides along like it´s on rails, and I am deeply grateful for that -- because demands are picking up, too.
My mother is coming from Pittsburgh to visit us VERY SOON, and I am so excited and scared and wound-up about that! My mother´s never been to Spain, but she´s heard me ranting about the place for decades. I hope I haven´t oversold the place. I hope the food/weather/language/jetlag/dogs/dust/culture shock/proximity/revolving door/pilgrim hubbubs are not too much for her. I hope her knees hold out. And I hope she doesn´t reveal too many of my embarrassing secrets!
I mostly hope she likes it. I may be 47 years old, but I still really want to make my mother proud of me. I still want to see her happy.
Meantime, Thomas is on his way here, too.
You may remember Thomas. He´s the Dutch-Croatian pilgrim handyman who´s been here a couple of times before in the past two years. He rides in on his bike, does a week or two of heavy work for us, and then wheels away for more adventures. Thomas and people like him -- wandering workers -- have had a large part in making The Peaceable what it is today. Thomas and Sebastian the Belgian, Patrik the Czech and Anselmo from Valencia, Ryan from Cleveland and now Kim from Key West, too -- I call them the apostolic succession. They come in off the trail, stay a while, and leave a real imprint on the place. Like E.B. White says, you never run out of things to do out on the farm. And anytime Thomas calls up and asks if we have work, well. Yeah. There´s always something onerous here that we´ve been putting off for some other day, that Thomas can get through in less than half the time we´d take, with fewer cuss-words and smashed thumbs, too.
(This is Ryan, doing onerous work while he was here. He´s gone on to become a successful oenophile in Cleveland, OH.)
In May we´re also expecting Ted, an old raconteur friend of Paddy´s who has ridden his ancient motorcycle around the world a couple of times, and makes his living writing and lecturing about his adventures. My mystic Californian friend Kathy is coming to visit, and a New Mexican pilgrim will stop in, too. And a photographer from Washington, and an anthropologist who wants to interview us for a thesis. And a documentary film crew, maybe. And then a couple of South Africans are coming for the hospitalero training session. Oh, and a lady who´s knitting sock monkeys as she walks along the trail! (I LOVE those!)
Today Kim and I went to Leon on a massive shopping trip -- there are lamb chops in our future! And we´ll have three colors of begonias in the window boxes, and big plants of fresh basil and coriander and parsley to cut right into the cooking. May is going to be great, I can feel it!
You should come too, if you´re around. Bring a sleeping bag. We´ll fit you in someplace. Bring your own sock monkey.