Friday, 19 November 2010

Lost Soles

Murphy, in his new bed, by the fire.
November is a small month to me. The sky closes in, the rain arrives, and I usually launch myself into a new writing project I can toil over til the sun comes back again.

In November I notice little things, and I think big thoughts about them. This is a function of writing, especially writing fiction: when you´re constructing a story, each detail you put into chapter 3 may well become an important element in chapter 11. You gotta notice. You gotta keep track. The detail orientation translates itself into noticing things when you´re out in the real world.

One latest thing I notice is shoe-bottoms. On beaches, in trackless deserts, in woods, fields, city streets, in airline terminals and feed-store parking lots, and up on the roofs of old hotels you see them: the soles of boots and sneakers. The fabric and leather that once made them shoes is gone, but the tough meet-the-road part lives on. You only ever see one of them at a time. They come in every style and size. They turn up in the most extraordinary places.

I want to know why. Why just one? Why here, and not there? Who did these soles belong to, back when they were shoes? How did they get here?

I know that sudden impact often knocks people out of one of their shoes. (why only one?) Single shoes litter the scenes of accidents and terror attacks and battles. I know trash sometimes bounces or blows out of the back of the garbage truck, and shoe-bottoms would likely outlive most other refuse that landed along the road. But that doesn´t explain the shoe-bottoms in the farm fields, miles away from any road or village. Or the one lying disconsolate in the middle of Space 36 in parking garage Level B. Or the one on the sill of the display window at the shoe store.

I like to think these soles are all that remains of people who were suddenly assumed into heaven. I love  to believe that still happens sometimes.

Back here in Moratinos life is getting more normal. People are back to smiling and waving from up in their tractors and out in their gardens. The garlic is planted. The days are getting very short, it´s dark now by 6 p.m. In the night and morning we are shrouded in fog. Rain arrived, right on time. The fields are full of beautiful sprouts, "green as a snooker table," Paddy says.

Me and Julia, Juli´s mom, are heading out for Sarria on December 9 to start the Camino de Santiago. (Christy has to stay at the house and look after Fran and Paco. Men cannot function without a woman in the house.)

The two of us will start walking the next day. We will go very slow, even though Julia says she can go like a hare. I will carry an extra poncho and socks, even though Julia says she doesn´t need extra clothes for a five-day trip. I will hope her shoes hold up. She doesn´t want to bother with waterproof hiking boots. She has some sneakers that are "light as a cloud," she says. And as for the rain, the December rain, the Galician rain? We will pray, she says. We´ll pray our feet don´t get wet. I have an umbrella, she says.

The camino is really tough, I tell her. It´s like walking to Sahagun and back, every day for a week.  You´ll have a load on your back. You´re going to hate it sometimes.

It´s only five days, she says. Seven or eight if we get tired. We don´t have to run.

We can wait til Spring, I tell her.

In spring we´ll be older. We have work to do in spring. This is the best time, it´s the Holy Year of Santiago, the crops are in the field, Christy is here to help in the house. Let´s aprovecharlo. Let´s grab the advantage.

You´re sure, I ask her.

We can do this, she says. We´ll be fine. We´ll walk every day from now til then, at 4 o´clock, if the weather is nice, to get into form.

I really want to do this, she says. I can´t go on my own. It will be very very good for me. We´ll do this for Juli. We´ll do this. Like hares we´ll go. I want to.

We need to. 
It´s going to be an interesting camino.

(You guys out there who want to pray? Pray for perfect weather!)

Tim, in his new bed. Suede and sheepskin. Great donativo, this!


FrereRabit said...

OK I'll pray, but there's self interest in it too: I want nice weather as I'm also on the Camino in December. I too will do it for Juli. I've got my Camino gear up in Poitiers with Barbara, all ready for departure after Christmas with her and Chris and the donkeys.

I was planning on walking the meseta section of the Camino Frances, but not sure of the start and finish points. Now I'll walk it from Burgos and finish at the church in Moratinos, for Juli. Then I shall get the train back from Sahagun.

Anonymous said...

I'll send those prayers...and a bit of arnica for your Camino...

Isn't December 8th or 9th Ascension Day?

will walk in the spring,

ksam said...

I'll be walking yeah..we'll be praying for decent weather too! It'll be an honor and a joy to be able to try and share some of the road with you. In fact, if you start walking on the 10th, I'll consider it a birthday gift! said...

Rabit, I hope you plan to end up at The Peaceable. Our redemption draweth nigh, I hope.
Buen camino!

FrereRabit said...

Well, that would be nice, as long as I don't break another foot. If I arrive at the Peaceable freezing cold off the meseta in December, can I use the back gate instead of the front steps...?

I'm thinking of departure from Burgos Cathedral after Mass on Holy Innocents (Dec 30th) and stopping Hontanas, Fromista, Carrion, before Moratinos.

I'm back at work teaching in the Benidrome on 10th January so that gives me a few days at home to do work on the donkey shed. Once the donks arrive in spring I'll be quite limited for trips away from here, until I have one trained and ready for the Camino, so this Christmas trip to France and then a short Camino will be my last for a while. Once you get animals, life revolves around them. Well, you know that...

So sad about Juli still... A gentle soul indeed. Did you see the post I put on my blog?

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecka,

Love this blog. Its second thing in de morning (after de Forum de Santiago update. Sorry). Its a pity that I choose for the Norte next year. Would have liked to visit your wonderfull place.

Thanks for your blog,

CaroleH said...

Just left a message on previous post, Reb. Will keep with you in prayer and steps for a few hours each day, down here in Aust., roughly 10 - 12 am Spanish time.

All the best. Buen camino. Carole

AnnieSantiago said...

Looking forward to hearing about the walk. Praying for same sunshine I'm seeing now. . . it's possible!

Rebecca said...

Rebekah, all the best to you and Juli's mum. I will be on the Camino Ingles, and will stay in step with you during your walk. Well at least from the 9th as you leave for Sarria, until possibly the 12th.