Weather is perfect for walking these days -- beautiful, warm, somewhat sunny, almost like spring. A crocus I planted a month ago is blooming already in the patio. The sky is full of falling stars -- the annual Geminid shower is in full flow, and it´s breathtaking!
We did not walk yet, though. Once my mind is set on making a pilgrimage, it is hard to wait to walk.
There is plenty happening here to keep me occupied.
> I have a novel to edit down, we´ve had some interesting pilgrims and a couple of Couch Surfers, too. The chicken hut always needs maintaining, the living area got a serious shake-down (aaachooo!) and scrubbing and mopping, at long last! (Playing fetch with Tim in the evening meant wrassling with a hairy dog in a cloud of dust. Not good.)
> A bearded git from La Rioja who walks the caminos every year dressed in a brown robe and scallop-shell everything, leaning on his staff and gazing into the horizon, claiming to be "the spirit of the camino" and handing out autographed photos of himself... well. He´s apparently ripped-off some hospitalero friends of ours for about 1,500 Euro. If you meet a goober out there who meets that description, walk the other way. There are frauds aplenty on the Magic Road... you´d think a guy who´s been gaming the system for many years wouldn´t start picking pockets!
> Murphy is the Cover Cat in a 2011 Camino Cats Calendar, a Canadian enterprise.
> Me and Kathy and Elyn and some other sterling characters were featured this month in "Camino de Santiago Revista Peregrina, a glossy Spanish magazine. (glossy as it may be, it doesn´t have its own website!)
> Somewhere in there is Christmas, and then New Year´s Eve, and my solemn Mass of induction into the Archicofradia Universal del Apostol Santiago, which ought to be a hoot.
But most of all is that little Camino. All manner of family business has kept Julia from leaving as planned. We keep up with our paseos, almost every day, at 4 p.m. Sometimes we have neighbors and family and dogs along. Mostly it´s just us. People see us out there, and they know what we´re working up to. Today after Mass, at the community "Vermut" gathering in the Town Hall Private Bar, I was told "God keep you" many many times. It´s a good thing we do.
Once we do it. Tomorrow afternoon, Julia says, after all the appointments and medical checkups.
Bags are packed, prayers are said, the larder filled for the duration. Monday afternoon we travel to Sarria, the starting point. Tuesday morning we shall rise up and walk, God willing.
As I prepare my mind and spirit for this trip, I feel very light and free. Not just because Paco is driving a car that will haul our luggage from one comfy rented room to the next. Not just because it´s a mere 110 kilometers -- a five or six-day go. Not because I have granola bars and gaiters and everything else I think I will need, or because I know this trail relatively well, or because I might just run into Kim out there somewhere.
It´s because this Camino is not about Me.
I am walking it for a friend, and it´s for her (and a few other people) I will be aiming my prayers and intentions. I do not expect to explore my Inner Self or develop insights or hear any great Voices of God. (I will likely hear plenty of Voice of Julia -- she loves a good chat!) I don´t expect much from this trip, as much as I am looking forward to it. I can relax and enjoy the scenery and the snappy weather and maybe even some rain (it´s in the forecast for the end of the week, alas!).
I am taking my NetBook, so if there´s a wifi where we lay our heads at night, I will try to update. I´m traveling light as I can, (and I´m prepared, if things go pear-shaped, to continue on the trail by myself, carrying my own stuff in a pack on my back.) My great thanks to you who will uphold us with your prayers and walks and good thoughts.
It is a good thing you do.
I may need to write a guidebook about it, someday. A how-to. Or maybe a song.
There are many Camino songs. Julia sang one the other day as we walked, a ditty I never heard before -- it is one of Fran´s favorites, and now he´s singing it all over town! Julia wrote down the words for me, in a fine cursive hand:
A Santiago voy, ligerito caminando
y con mi paragüitas, por si la lluvia
me va mojando.
A Santiago voy ligerito suspirando,
por mi niña Carmela,
que en Compostela me está esperando.
Voy subieindo montañas, cruzando valles
O verde me acaricia porque a Galicia
ya estoy llegando!
A Santiago voy, a Santiago voy
como un peregrino, por el camino de la ilusion,
A Santiago voy, a Santiago voy
y con mi Carmela, que en Compostela
me quedo yo.
A Santiago voy... ¡me voy!
And in very rough translation:
I´m going to Santiago, walking lightly
with my umbrella, because if it rains I´ll be walking wet.
I go to Santiago, sighing lightly
Because my girl Carmela is in Santiago
waiting for me!
I go, climbing mountains, crossing valleys,
Greenness embraces me as I arrive in Galicia.
I´m going to Santiago, to Santiago I go
as a peregrino, the Road is so exciting!
To Santiago I go, I go to Santiago, and in Santiago
and with my Carmela in Santiago I will stay.
I´m going to Santiago, I´m off!