We begin our walk along a beautiful path, not too steep, not too wet, not too anything! But end it with water everywhere along a slippery, wet path that climbs and dips. Well-marked by the yellow arrows, it leads us past the 99.9 Kilometer marker! We are almost there!
As I ponder the end of the trip, I wonder how many lessons I have not leaned, how many messages I have not heard. I worry about the ones at home, my family, my students. Daily I dedicate my walk to them, sending them loving kindness and all the good energy from the Camino.
As we ate dessert at the restaurant in Samos, Cleber our Brazilian friend gave us rosaries and an ribbon bracelet from la Virgen de Nazaret. I remember Maria Gambiel giving me one of these ribbons and tying it around my wrist. I was to wear it til it fell off so that my three wishes would be granted. It stayed on my wrist for almost a year; the three wishes were all granted! I choose not to wear this one, though. He tells us that they are blessed. I keep them in my pack. I get teary thinking of all the people we met and of the bonds of pilgrimming (just made that one up). Joy, is the Korean mother who is walking with her sons. She is hurting and tells us she wants to go with us. Slowly, not rushing like her young sons. but her oldest son decides for her; they will stick together and get to Santiago together.
We begin thinking of what we will do after we end our walk in Santiago. I want to continue to Finisterre, but Becky doesn’t. We will take a bus and spend one day there instead of walking for three days. I agree it makes sense. I want to spend three days in Santiago. We talk of how we will get our stuff at Correos, but before that we must buy a suitcase to fit our purchases, not many, but still it will require a carry-on. I want to look for cheap flights to Madrid from Santiago.
We arrive in Ferreiros and stay at the albergue de la Xunta–5 Euros–but the impeccable kitchen has not menaje! That’s right, no pots or pans whatsoever. Primitiva, the hospitalera, nice and accommodating, tells us can leave later than the official posted time of 8 a.m. She says it is different for winter because it is still dark at 8 a.m. She directed us to a cafe/bar where we had dinner. I ate meat and decide I will stay off beef from now on. I have only had meat 3 times the whole Camino–counting the Caldo Castellano and the meat for New Year’s eve! I wrote in my book that I wish to go vegan but it is not realistic; decide to eat chicken and fish, but no red meats for a year. Then cut off the chicken too. Becky tells me, “you are a spiritual being,” as an explanation for why I should stop eating meat. For dessert I ate a tarta de piña. I don’t think I am losing weight given the meals I have been eating. We walk and I feel light.
I have ideas for poems, plays, stories. One for Champú will be called “First Kiss.”
We share the albergue with a couple from Uruguay. They didn’t end up at the restaurant but went to another place that looked closed down the road. He is young, dark long curly hair; she is short blonde hair and athletic.I seep my last herbal tea bag from the ones Cinthia and Maria gave me for the trip–I have been very frugal.
“This day has been a blessing–Gracias! I see the birds, the tress can now recognize them. The weather is bitter cold, but it is spring and the wild flowers bloom. Streams run with rustling waters from the montains, El Roble. El Castaño. Y el Acebo. Glorious trees, majestic and beautiful, watch over us. We walk on paths carpeted with chestnut and oak leaves. The bare trees are about to burst into bloom; new shoots are about to burst into leaf. The roosters, hens, cows, horses, burros and all other animals surround us placidly going aobut their business as we walk by. The path will be muddy for summer pilgrims!
…I have massaged my feet, made my bed. This trip has meant nothing more than walking to exhaustion and then resting, with time for eating in between. What a luxury to focus on such basic needs. The spirit of the Camino is in me. I want to serve humanity, find the purpose of my life–or am I already living it? I sense, YES. The prayer of St. Francis is on my mind as I walk. Each step I sing a song of gratitude and see the angels surround us. Three times the nature creatures have healed me and all is well. Even the knee no longer hurts as it did one day. My heart sings with joy. What an incredible gift this trip has been. All whom we have met mirrored and taught me so much. Quintin who is 24 as is Noki and the the older Joy and her sons and the Japanese scientist in Samos too. Jesus Jato who was born in 1940 teach me. I remain open to it all. Gracias!”