Everyday the Camino surprises me.
- Wheat fields laughing in red poppies.
- Spanish blue skies ruffled like flamenco dresses with clouds.
- Flocks of sheep crowding the path, jockeying for position in their pack.
- Old men who rush out of storefronts to stop a pilgrim in the street, hurry back in and emerge with tiny medals of the Virgin Mary on white strings to be tied around wrists with a blessing.
- Old women who open their simple homes, providing mattresses on the floor and homemade marmalade on rustic toasts for breakfast.
- The kindness of other pilgrims: sharing food, comfort, clothing, medicine.
There is something different about this place, this journey, this crowd, from other places and traveling communities I’ve been in. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
It’s as if the shared purpose of our journey bonds travelers and hosts alike. It isn’t about the religious aspect of the walk. Most who are walking aren’t Catholic. It seems to be about the mutual understanding that we are here for a purpose. Every single person is carrying something, or hoping to put something down, or is looking for something. There is a shared sympathy in the physical challenge of the daily exertion and a mutual encouragement towards the hope that tomorrow will be better, and if it’s not, we’ll help one another through.
I can’t put my finger on it yet.
I don’t quite have the words.
I do have a few more photographs.
All I can tell you is that, if you are at all inclined, you should do this walk.