|Ditch Pigs of 2014: Bas, Reb, Kathy, and Bruno|
In keeping with my daft ideals, each year I hold the Palencia Camino Cleanup. I raise some funds and round up volunteers and gas up the car and we walk all 80+ kilometers of Camino de Santiago in Palencia province, picking up the litter along the way. The air is clear and fresh and cold, the weeds have died back in the ditches. We all get a great, gentle workout while we Do the Right Thing.
This year there were four of us. Bas is from a fishing village on the coast of England -- he's from a tinker family, and tells some interesting tales. Kathy is my best bud from San Francisco. It took her two long days of broken airplanes to finally get here, but now we're making hemp muscle-rub and wreaths of rosemary, cruising the Roman villas. And Bruno, our Italian neighbor and hospitalero at Albergue San Bruno, did a big share on the long stretches -- he and I are the only ones who can drive the car, so when he's along, I only need to walk half the distance,
And he brings KitKat bars.
It is useful and fun, even. Just when you start feeling bored with walking along the road, you find someone's underpants.
It's been stressful old year, 2014, and I will be glad to bid it goodbye. I left behind a bad tooth, a beloved cat, and two canaries. Or maybe they left me.
I climbed some mountains with a good friend and walked across a big plain on my own, until the sun stopped me cold. Not all stress is bad: I celebrated my son's marriage, his law school graduation, his swearing-in to the New Hampshire bar; I got a fine new daughter in law called Raheela. I got to know my son in law Dave a bit better in September, when he and Libby joined me for a holiday in the French Pyrenees. Libby landed a very competitive scholarship, paid-for by her employer, to earn her Masters in Public Administration at George Mason University.
My children made me mighty proud this year.
I am still working on the book, still dreaming big dreams, talking big daft ideas, still a big bleeding-heart liberal. Still doin' the Christian thing with a Buddhist zing.
Paddy and I are getting older. Parts are beginning to fall off here and there. He is dealing with his end-of-year annual sciatica, but it didn't keep him from going to London this week to visit the Dear Aulds. I learned the doctors wielding the terrifying tests detailed in the last blog succeeded in finding exactly nothing wrong. They say they want to stick needles in me for a biopsy anyway, but nobody's scheduled that yet.
I'd put some big things on "hold" until I learned if I was OK. I think it's time to get on with life now. Or let life get on with me.