After all that long, cold, quiet on the mountain, I walked right back into the spinning blades of The Peaceable. There's much to do here at our house, even if anyone passing through Moratinos would think a neutron bomb went off. There's nothing moving but the occasional crow.
The funnest thing lately was recording a Podcast with David Whitson, and American pilgrim who's tech-savvy and a fine interviewer.
You can hear it here,
I was cleverly paired with Rom Bates, an Irish guy who did something like we did at about the same time: he quit the Big Job in Dublin and went with his wife to Moissac, France to open a pilgrim shelter. Rom and I are mutual admirers, and we both enjoy talking about ourselves. Pull up a glass of something nice and have a listen.
Another reason I came back was Paddy's eyes. He's under a long-term treatment for vision troubles, and in the last three months he lost the ability to read without hugely magnifying the object or book or screeen in question. It's a hard road for a man whose house is a scattered pile of books, magazines, pictures, and paintings in progress. Paddy's been amazingly philosophical about it, for the most part... he's still got Podcasts and YouTube videos, and a good set of headphones.
He had a minor surgery on one eye last Friday, an experimental procedure that shoots an anti-cancer drug into the tube that connects the lens in the front of his eye to the retina in the back -- if I understand correctly, the optical nerve runs through there. The drug kills overgrowing blood vessels that are squashing up the space in there.
This morning, Paddy picked up a paperback book I've been reading, opened to a random page, and realized he could see it clearly! Glory be!
After church we went to Mansilla de las Mulas to celebrate at a nice restaurant. It's a joyful day.
I am beating the bushes for volunteers to host at the Albergue Convento San Anton de Castrojeriz this year, and I'm learning about how many mattresses of what size they need at the old donativo Domus Dei Albergue in Foncebadon -- theirs are in pretty rotten condition, and folks I know seem to like buying beds for donativo places... so get out your wallets, people! I'm back!
>I need to start a little non-profit to handle project donations.
>The memorial grove for fallen pilgrims idea is already well-developed among a little volunteer group in Navarre. I may need to take a trip over to Pamplona soon to learn all about it.
>I've pretty much finished a short history of the ruined Monastery of San Anton, written by me and Robert Mullins, a writer who volunteered there last summer. Before I decide how to package it, (and how to pay for it) I need to find out what's become of the relic that used to give that old monastery its Holy Ghost Power healing juju -- they had St. Anthony's left arm! It was kept in a silver "reliquary" case, and used to sanctify medicines and elixers the monks used for healing St. Anthony's Fire, an epidemic disease in medieval Europe.
When the monastic hospital at San Anton closed up for good in about 1795, all the riches and artwork were sent to the parishes of Castrojeriz, where a lot of it still is. But the arm? It left town. No one seems to know just where it ended up. Probably Burgos, the wise heads say. Look at the big imperial convent. Look at the church in that neighborhood -- the Church of San Anton.
So that's the plan: an expedition to Burgos, to find San Anton's missing arm. I bet nobody else is doing that this week. First one to find it wins the Arms Race!