Thursday, 27 February 2014

Wet Morning

I wheeled the trash bin back inside the gate. The snow was shifting to rain, it pelted down, and there on the edge of the N120 dripped a pilgrim. He did not respond to Spanish, but he knew what "tea" meant.
He followed me down the muddy garden, doffed his poncho in the laundry room, sat down in the warm kitchen.
He did not care that the kitchen was messy.
He smiled, wrapped his fingers around his mugful of tea, bobbed his face over the rising heat. He smiled at the cookies and the apple on the plate. He picked up the cookies in a stack and sniffed them, like he´d never seen cookies before. He ate them that way, all three at once. The apple went into his pocket, for later.
Paddy came home with the wet dogs. Tim and Rosie wagged and greeted the pilgrim on their way to the woodstove. They threw their bodies down and steamed their wet-dog stink. The windows started to drip.
The man said thank-you in gestures. I helped him get his poncho on over his pack. He went back the way he came in, through the mud, out onto the side of the highway.

It is that simple.

I do not need to join the Association of Christian Welcome at the Benedictine convent in Leon, nor the Amigos del Camino in Logroño, nor trouble myself with the American Pilgrims on the Camino FaceBook page. I do not need to bemoan the demise of "the camino spirit" on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage forum, nor spend next weekend down in Villalon with an over-caffeinated gang of Spanish hospitaleros, touring dusty convents and swapping high-decibel tales and shmoozing -- fun as that might seem for a while. I do not need to go back to school and get my deacon credentials in order. I do not need to write any more camino books or guides or plans. Other people, worthy people, can do all those things better than I can.

I do not need to put my fingers into all these pies.

The Camino is right here, outside the back gate, in the rain.
The pilgrims are cold and wet, and our kitchen is warm, and we have apples and cookies and tea. 

It´s that simple.


The Solitary Walker said...

A simple and heartwarming post, Rebekah. Why do we like to complicate things?

Christine Adams said...

It's been said many times, but it bears saying again, from the pilgrim's point of view. The Camino reminds us of the angels among us and within us. You with your tea and cookies, the old man in Muruzabal who gave me water and sat with me in his cool dark foyer and wished me "Vaya con Dios", the Basque chiropractor out for his morning walk who saved me from some drunken louts and showed me the way through the streets of Pamplona in the first light of dawn, myself bandaging the heel of my Swedish doppelganger, while we both stared at one another in amazement. Every person who said "Buen Camino", and meant it. We need to live like this every minute of every day. Some of us need to go walkabout every now and again, to remember that and to take the opportunity to be the change,(as poor old Gandhi is made to repeat ad nauseum) that we want to see in the world. You're right, no experience necessary. You just have to show up. Thanks for showing up, Rebekah.

Laura Collins said...

Thank you for sharing this simple, beautiful, genuine experience.

Warren said...

Pilgrims are solitary. But so, it seems are angels. I am looking forward to a solitary camino next spring once I have packed the last daughter off to college. while an undertaking such as this needs a support staff, I'm a little worried that it is becoming like Everest, a bucket-list event, lacking in true centeredness. Looking forward to your place.

Anonymous said...

Life is 90% showing up. (Woody Allen.)

EileenHamer said...


EileenHamer said...


Ingrid said...

Isn't that why you and Paddy decided to live the Camino every day. You do what you are called to do, because that is life, outside and inside the Peaceable.

I know what that pilgrim felt, grateful and happy and blessed.

I felt that too and so did the 2 other girls you rescued that day.

Life it that simple and so is your love for the Camino. Light and Love <3 Ingrid

Rachael said...

Rebecca, That is all true, and I have a question for you: what can we pilgrims bring to you? said...

Hola Rachael,
Not much a pilgrim can bring, as pilgrims need to travel light. If you can afford it, a donativo is always helpful. If you know how to drive nails or angle shed roofs or make enchiladas, we could use your expertise.

When they leave, we often ask for pilgrims to pray for us. I think pilgs´ prayers must have some extra power. Other than that, our needs are pretty well covered.

Heda said...


Anonymous said...

I have not walked the Camino yet, not in Spain, but do walk it daily at home. Thanks to you and many others I feel I am on my Camino now. You are part of my reason for walking. Thank you for being you and hope to see you in 2015

And yes I will carry a special plastic bag to not add my part to the fly problem.
M. Boyce