Some things end, and others begin.
Yesterday the galgo girls took a side trip from their morning walk and killed one of the neighbors´ best laying hens. We viewed the corpse (by then plucked and ready for roasting), then handed over one of our little black Zaragoza hens to make good the damage. The bitches must be muzzled.
We helped trim the trees and clear up the flower beds in the Plaza Mayor, where the weather changed from bright sunshine to darksome snow within an hour´s time. Afterward we took part is a giant feed (officially termed a "merienda," or "snack") at the Ayuntamiento. Twenty people showed up. We talked about the crumbling church tower, the cemetery, what should be done with the bones in the cemetery, the best way to butcher hogs (with Esteban offering vivid visual aids with his steak knife and his own throat), how mule meat makes the best cecina sausage, and just who ought to have the right to hunt in fields owned by the Moratinos Neighborhood Association. Lamb was consumed, and empanada, and cakes. Pepsi and fizzy water, and homemade wine and moonshine were quaffed. It was warm in there. Everyone´s face turned red.
This morning the plaza looks clean-shaven and scrubbed bare.
Right this minute a train is (hopefully) speeding across Spain from Barcelona to Vigo. Kim is on board. She´ll alight in Sahagun in a couple of hours and rejoin our merry band.
Tomorrow I will board the same train on its return journey. I´ll get on at Sahagun, and get off at Pamplona. If I am lucky I will then catch the only bus up to the mountaintop village of Roncesvalles, right on the French frontier. And from there, Tuesday morning, I will set out on my second Full-Length Camino.
Walking the Full-Length Camino, a five or six-week trek on foot, is known to change lives. It did a real job on mine, back in 2001. Nine years later, I´ve stopped fighting the urge. I am joining the tide. I am taking the Big Walk.
You may not hear much from me during the coming weeks. A pilgrimage takes you Off Grid, in a way, way far from ordinary life. If you want it to. Which I do.
If you want to read live reports from the path, there are tons of camino blogs out there, full of detail and color and faith and heartbreak. I don´t think I can add anything new to that flood. Besides, internet access is expensive and somewhat rare out there on the trail. I will stay in touch with home, but minimally.
Home is doing much to set me free.
My cousin Micki died midweek. My son Philip had a revelation that turned into a long-awaited reconciliation for the two of us. I got some vegetable and herb seeds started, indoors and out. Temperatures are slowly oozing upward. March is rolling along just fine under its own inertia. Nobody really needs me here, not for a little while. And my backpack, fully charged, weighs only 5 kilos.
I have a promise to keep. It´s time to go.