The meseta is long and hot.
After two weeks toiling through mountains and rolling hills, over rocky terrain and ankle deep slippery leaves, one would think it a relief to walk out into the oceans of wheat on the plains, over broad, smooth paths that stretch to the blue horizon. One would think.
This section has been described as the most tedious of the journey because of the monotony of the days, the long, long stretches of nothing, and the general absence of shade or comfort. It follows an old Roman road, away from civilization and through fields where thoughts germinate alongside the grain. It has been a good stretch through which to think.
I found the following quotes on the wall of a refuge called “The hospital for the soul,” in Castrojeriz a few evenings ago. Jade and I wandered through the quiet rooms, gazed at the art, hung gallery style, and spent a quiet moment in their underground stone chapel:
- The miracle is not to fly, or walking on water, but to walk on the earth.
- I am tired to walk, but not tired to share.
- The secret to relationships is to ask much of yourself and little of others.
- We have a surplus of time, but a lack of each other.
And so we walk, and we think.
I confess that when I took off on this journey, with Jade, I didn’t buy into a few things. The educational and mystical components of the journey being two. And yet, it’s hard to deny that things happen to, and for, people here that don’t seem to happen elsewhere. Each and every day we are learning. Perhaps it’s as simple as taking the time, making the time, to do absolutely nothing productive in the traditional sense. I am not working. I’m not washing, or cooking, or teaching, or planning for the future. I’m not reading, or listening to music, or otherwise distracting myself with anything external. For hours a day I walk, alone, or with strangers, we talk, we think together, and we ask a common question:
“So, what are you learning?”
- I’m learning to walk.
- I’m learning how strong I am.
- I’m learning to be quiet… I’m not always great at being quiet.
- I’m learning that I am not in Europe, or in Spain, or in pick-a-pueblo. I’m in one single footstep.
- I am learning about happiness.
- I am learning to love… that’s a lesson I don’t think I can ever quite master.
- I am learning to listen.
- I’m learning to embrace serendipity and to let each day what it is.
- I am learning to return home, in a thousand big and small ways.
- I’m learning to cultivate peace.
- I am learning.
I am learning.
In the meantime, I took a few photographs for you: