Watching The Sap Boil

“It’s gotten warmer here,” my mother told me the other day. “Forties during the day. I don’t think it’s going to get down to freezing tonight. I wonder if the sap will stop running?” For those of you that didn’t grow up in the mid-Hudson Valley, you may know what sap is, but have no…

The Not-So-Sunny Side of Life in Barbados

The photo showed four of my former colleagues in the hallway of one of the school buildings, heads tilted toward the imaginary center of the selfie, faces masked, two of them in front, two more trying to socially distance in the back. One of them had posted the pic to to my Facebook page with…

Untold Camino Stories: The Cherry Farmer

In the midst of charging up the hill ahead of me, Dad stopped, turned around, and yelled, “Hurry up and get up here before the tractor comes.” I looked up to my left and saw a tractor about to join us on the Camino de Santiago. I got over to the side of the trail…

Untold Camino Stories: The Interview

Since our public libraries have been closed since March 18, and I’m a minimalist who doesn’t have a single book in my home that I haven’t already read, I’ve resorted to something I’m finding quite delightful: reading my journals from past journeys on the Camino de Santiago. And guess what? There are lots of stories…

Merging

I was driving from my home in Arden, NC to our twice-yearly writers retreat–which now takes place on Norris Lake in Tennessee. I wound around the mountains, a light snow blowing about–the kind that just whirls on the road without sticking. As the cars ahead of me slowed, I glanced at my Waze app and…

Camino Magic

“I’m stopping at the next shady spot to eat something,” I told Dad as we walked a dusty, packed dirt trail through vineyards and plowed wheat fields. Soon an olive grove came into view. I passed by the first few rows hoping to find a tree with a rock underneath it–was it too much to…

And For His Next Feat . . .

As we stood in Sarah’s kitchen drinking wine and munching potato chips, someone complimented her on the look of her kitchen cabinets. “We repainted them ourselves,” she told us. “I wouldn’t recommend it.” After she detailed the laborious process, (removing the doors, removing the hardware, degreasing, sanding, lots of dust, lots of waiting for things…

Everyone Does Their Own Camino—Luxury Version

“When you told me about the Camino,“ our friend John said, “you talked about hostels and sharing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If you had told me it was going to be like this . . . “ Dad had just called John to fill him in on our adventures and the latest four-star hotel…

A Night on the Camino with Dad

“Let’s go meet more pilgrims,” Dad said on Friday night. He has become adept at identifying pilgrims by their clothing, shoes, shuffles, and limps. Backpacks and shells are also markers. So as we strolled the streets of Los Arcos around 5pm, I saw them the same time he did. Except I immediately recognized them. Two…

Walking vs. Volunteering on the Camino de Santiago

Some of you may know, just before meeting my dad in Pamplona to start our Camino, I spent the previous week volunteering in the pilgrim office in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port (SJPdP), France. Many people begin their pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in that town. They walk into our small office thinking we are there just to…