I was just two miles from my destination for the day but needed a rest. My left foot felt every rock despite the thick soled hiking shoes I was wearing. My body asked gently for a break, then it pleaded, and I gave in. I tossed my walking sticks to the ground. I dropped my pack from my shoulders. With a thud my pack hit the dirt path, standing upright for a second and then falling over under its own weight.
I sat myself down beside my pack and pulled out the folded 8″ x 14″ folded pages I use as my journal. I wanted to capture the sounds of the Camino, what I felt, what I saw.
I listened. Wind through wheat fields. Birds chattering to each other. Bees buzzing. German conversation as two pilgrims walked by. I heard, too, their walking sticks hitting the ground in time with their steps. A lone bike rider whooshed by – I heard his tires roll through the sun-dried earthen path.
I continued to record the sights, sounds and feelings. The sky was blue and white, nearly endless. The sun shone bright overhead but I wore my long pants and long sleeves as the coolness of the wind prevailed over the warmth of the sun. Down the way I could see more pilgrims coming toward me. Some walked alone, some in pairs. Some used a lone walking stick, some used two or none.
A friend e-mailed me yesterday to say he was enjoying my posts thus far, but didn’t have a picture of the Camino. He reminded me of what one of my writing group friends told me before I left: to listen, to see. So today I went back to my journal for May 26. On that day, I recorded the above sights and sounds and wanted to share them with you. That was on Day 16 of my Camino.
Today is Day 22. I am more than half-way finished. The weather is much warmer. Today was the first day I walked out of the hostel with just my short-sleeve shirt and shorts on. Every day up until this point I have had at least one or two more layers over my shirt. I wear convertible zip-off pants each day, but today was the first day I left with the pants portion already zipped off, my face, arms, and legs covered in sunscreen.
Today the sun heated the day early. By 9:30AM my dry-wicking shirt was working full-force. It was nearly 80 degrees – unusual even for Spain this time of year.
The path I walked today was still packed earth, but it was beside a road. There was little breeze and no wheat fields. In addition to birds and fellow pilgrims I could hear – and feel the slight breeze from – the few passing cars. On occassion I walked alone, but most of the day I was in conversation with other pilgrims. All morning I talked to Vincent, a young man from France deciding what to do next with his life. In the afternoon, I enjoyed trading life stories with Marie. She thanked me at the end of the day for our time together. I repeated the thanks back to her. We both agreed the walk on this long, hot day was made much easier thanks to the conversation with the other.
Stories abound here on the Camino, as do sights and sounds. Thanks to you all for journeying with me:)
7 Comments Add yours
I first heard about the Camino 2 years ago from a friend who experienced it with his daughter. 2 more friends I know will embark in late summer 2012. Rebecca’s description of her journey makes feel as if I were there and walking with her. Thank you. I hope to begin in a year if this 60 something year old body holds up.
There are plenty of people 60 and well beyond doing the Camino. The oldest I’ve met so far was 78. Since you know you want to do it, start practicing. Just simply take a walk every day. Twenty minutes just to start will definitely help.
Ahh, now I can smell the Camino. So glad you gave us color.
Rebecca! I found your blog via the forum – your posts are really special! Thank you for sharing, you’ve already helped me quite a bit as I’m busy packing for my first camino as well. I leave Cape Town on Monday and start walking from St Jean on the 7th of June. I was wondering whether one needs long or short sleeves for the afternoons and evenings? I have bags full of heart stones that I have picked up during my pre-camino walks and of course I’ll be taking one of those along but you have now given me the lovely idea to bring another – one for fears and the other for hope and thanksgiving – thank you!!
Every morning except the last two I’ve started with long sleeves. Depends what time you leave in the morning, what the weather will be. Also, I’m usually cold, so I err on the side of takign something with me. I also have a very light and light-weight fleece that I’ve worn most evenings. Again, by the time you come that might not be needed. If anything, err on the side of bringing LESS. I think if you have one long-sleeve shirt and a rain/jacket, you’ll be fine. My jacket is water resistant and I sprayed it with waterproof spray. Serves me fine!
It is a great pleasure to read of your pilgrimage along the Camino. I am sensing that it does not matter where you live, what language you speak or which path one has chosen. We are all universally questing for what it is we are being compelled to DO with this life we have been given.
Carpe Diem, dear friend!
Oh thank you for your words Barbara. How true they are!