Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Still Alive Out Here!

After all these years of blogging and chattering at you all and "building a platform," it looks like I have got up and walked away from it all.

Like I said at the last posting, the ground is shifting underfoot.
We don´t see so many pilgrims these days. We don´t go to local pig-stickings, or bull-runs, or baptisms so much. We hole up at home, we read books, we walk the dogs who remain with us (we are down to a mere TWO!).
 Much of it is to do with Patrick´s health. He cannot walk so far these days, and he does not like to travel far from home. He´s getting older, and sometimes crotchety. I cannot leave him alone here for more than three days or so.

Some of it is me. I am spending more time in contemplation, when I am not working on someone´s book manuscript, or out saving someone´s butt. It seems that making measured decisions and following them through with calm action is now a Superpower. It wasn´t always so... or maybe I only recently got my own act together enough to step up and help out other people. I dunno.

In June I walked from our house to Santiago de Compostela with Jon, my 17-year-old nephew. I am still not sure that was a great idea, but we both made it in one piece, and I got a real close-up look at what this holy path has become since I last walked it long-term, lo those 9 years ago. I have walked the Camino Frances three times now. It will never lose its fundamental juju, but let me tell you folks, it ain´t what it once was. The trail is changed, yes -- parts of it I have no memory of ever seeing before in my life! But what´s changed most is the pilgrims. Don´t get me started on those! (Maybe the next blog post?)

I swore a great swear at the end of it, however. I will not walk the last 100 km. of the Frances (Sarria to Santiago) again, at least not in pilgrimage season. It is no longer the Camino de Santiago, not so far as I can see. It´s become a parody version of itself, a cardboard-cutout pilgrimage for people who kinda like the idea, but don´t really want to walk too much -- and a great gang of rapacious capitalists
angling to empty their pockets.

Yeah, I´m crotchety, too. We are dealing with a family crisis down in Malaga, sad circumstances that take a ton of emotional energy. We may live on a magical trail, but real life still happens, and it happens hard.

I need to write. I love you guys. I will do better, promise.

Meantime, the sunflowers are glorious. The barn is full of swallows. Combines cut and comb the fields and lay a layer of golden dust over everything and everyone. Venus and Mars shine bright alongside the blood moon. Wine prices are way down, and I am refilling our depleted bodega, even though we don´t drink so much these days. The apple trees bow low under a huge load of fruit, but the vegetable garden is making a lot more leaves than fruit.

We are still alive. Come by and say hello.



Ingrid said...

Gosh I wish I could come by and chew the fat with you and Paddy. We are all in the autumn of our lives and we are slowing down. I don't like it. My mind races but my body just tells me to "shut up and stay still".

We have moved to our new house about a months ago and I am not settled in. The physical stuff is going to take a long time, but I was hoping mentally, I would would be at peace more. It is not a home yet, poco a poco we will get there.

I spend more time outside, my hair is bleached by the sun, I sport a tan and if I let my imagination run wild, I can pretend to sit outside an albergue relaxing with a glass of from the many local bodegas. Some make darn good vino.

There are times I think I should start a blog, as I am always so long winded in my facebook postings... I love Storytelling.

Hope to see you next year some time. I am off to Ireland end of May for a retreat with the "Holy Disorder of dancing monks" and who knows where I am going to go on to. No fixed plans this time, but If I end up in Spain and IF you are needing help ... you know how to get a hold of me.

Light and love and hugs to you all. Caminodreaming INgrid

Margaret Meredith said...

So glad that you are still continuing!

From one "continuer" to another Godspeed and Ultreia!

"...and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Timecheck said...

Always thought we would once again do the entire CF again and see your place, but each year we do some new pilgrimage path farther afield, and we are doing shorter distances these days, and at a slower pace We did the last part of the CF at the end of the Primitivo a couple of years back, and were mentally prepared for the bustle and the hustle, but you are right, nothing like the experience of years ago. I still have faith in mankind's very slight tendency towards goodness, but with such crowds, those moments of human kindness get obscured. On the remote routes, we see so few other pilgrims, that we find it mostly in those who host pilgrims.

maxon03@yahoo.com said...

So glad you posted again. Although we have never met, I still connect with you as one of the "old timers." I first "met" you when my aunt sent me an article of yours when you were still a journalist in the States. You gave me advice about being a hospitalera which I did many times until the great crash of '08 when I couldn't afford it any longer. I still feel drawn to Spain and the fact that it ain't what it used to be makes me feel better in a snarky way. Anyway your words connect me to Spain and how it was and I appreciate that

mawuli said...

Couldn't agree more with you about the CF of today v the CF of old. This was mainly the reason behind my rambling paths in June and July this year, maybe I didn't spend enough time focusing on the here and now but it sure was a different experience in 2018 than my first time in 2011.
I don't know if you read about the Pittsburgh Gazette cartoonist, Rob Rogers, who was fired after 25 years with the paper for drawing unfavorable cartoons about the buffoon in the White House. The story is ludicrous and the severance package he was offers was an affront to a free press. I heard an interview with him on NPR, you would have been outraged if you had heard it.
I move back to Ohio in September after 17 years in sunny Florida.
Stay well!

Sheri in MN said...

What a gift you sent out into the world today! Thank you for your post. Like maxon03, we've never met but I've enjoyed your tales of the Peaceable and its characters and creatures for many years now. Still dreaming of the Camino (thanks a lot Jack Hitt back in 1993!). May still get 'er done...by crawling. Anyways.

Know that so many people hold you and Paddy and your critters and the Peaceable in our thoughts and prayers (which is a heartfelt phrase when not used by politicians after a school shooting). Blessings and peace to you...sheri in MN

Rachael said...

Do you *want* pilgrims coming by? When I get to the end of the Madrid route in early October I could turn right and head for Moratinos before doing the Salvador/Primitivo with family. But if you're content in your contemplation and service I'll turn left for Leon.

Rachael said...

BTW, I'm the mama from Kiwi-family on the Camino Forum (full disclosure before you commit!)

Michelle Rose Lesley said...

Hey Rebekah, it's that unnamed pilgrim from your previous post. I so appreciate the experience I had with you and Paddy. Muchas gracias, it was memorable in so many ways. Reading this post tugs at my pilgrim heart because I know how deep your love goes for the Camino. I appreciate the honesty that permeates your writing, without fail! I have only "known" this pilgrimage since 2016, so do not have the history with it you do, but can only imagine how the experience has changed over the past 20 years. So it goes, and so we go. Some of us are captured by this pilgrimage and it will not release us, no matter who we walk next to or what we find along The Way. After all, who ever said it was going to be easy?? Will continue to look for you on the page, on the path or at Peaceable Kingdom. Peace and Ultreia, dear peregrina! elle

Christine Adams said...

I'm always happy to read whatever you are writing about. Any little taste of Spain is wonderful for me.

Walk the Portuges again, Rebkah....I loved coming into Santiago from the back end. There is an element of the bucket-listers from Tui to Santiago, but it retains the quietude and beauty that I experienced on the CF in 2008. Of course, the real pilgrimage is occuring everyday, internally, but a walk is nice too.

Rebrites@yahoo.com said...

mawuli, you are welcome here. We are buzzing in and out, but if you send an email we will be sure to have the bed made up for you!

Amanda Schaffer said...

Hi Rebekah, missed your posts so happy to catch up with the latest! Look forward to your thoughtful & insightful perspective on what's happening in your life and on the Road --
Discovered the Camino over 20 years ago (from the CD "Santiago" by the Chieftains) so feel a bit protective of wanting it remain as it was in a quieter past -- am keeping good thoughts that it will endure the commercialism of 21st century popularity! May be somewhat akin to the crowds at the height of popularity in the Middle Ages -- a fascinating study --
Cheers from CA, Amanda