Sights and Sounds

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:)


My Day-by-Day Spiritual Journey

At the parish hostel I stayed at in Tosantos (population: 20) we all went up to the third floor chapel after our shared meal. The hospitalerios (a volunteer who runs the hostel) led us in a prayer service that included readings, blessings, songs, and prayer in French, German, English, Spanish, and Italian (representative of the countries from which the nine of us pilgrims had come). He then had a message to share with us: The Camino is not so much about the outward physical journey as the inward journey of our hearts. He encouraged us to take this message with us along The Way. Having just passed the half-way mark on my journey along the Camino, I thought now would be a time to reflect on that inward journey.

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