O’CEBREIRO to TRIACASTELA
O’Cebreiro…this beautiful place felt like I was ‘resting’ in Eden. EVERYWHERE I
looked, creation was birthing itself as if on a time lapse camera.
I sat outside most of the day writing, sketching and taking in some sustenance.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh, the vistas filled me with what no ‘food’ could sustain.
It was early evening when I spotted a man who passed me a few times this
afternoon gazing at my sketch… ‘Bravada, Bravada’ was all he said and we shared
an unspoken smile.
Now, as I sat quietly, he came and sat beside me…a man who had seen many
years—his face glowed.
Then, he extended his hand and said, “I’m Joseph. Joseph from Rome.”
We managed a heartwarming conversation and we sat silently bathed in the
setting sun and in the mountains that stretched for interminable miles.
Then, Joseph from Rome, showed me his finger. He had a large gash that he
managed to do on his own with his Swiss army knife. His bandage was soaked
with blood. No pharmacies on this lofty mountain haven. “Wait, I will help.” I
went to my room and pulled out a few medicated blister bandages. Joseph, from
Rome, was delighted as I dressed his wound. We shared a smile and he was gone.
Why am I writing about Joseph—Joseph from Rome? I’m on this Camino de
Santiago, and it does carry with it a ‘charming’ male energy. Joseph is my
father’s name…and today I walked (mindfully) with my dad. If not for my dad, I
would not be here ‘walking.’
I ALWAYS was an adventurous child. As I sat, I recalled a family outing to an
amusement park many years ago. My mom had me wear a dress (That’s a whole
other story—but, an amusement park and a dress?) I was only five and hurried to the
fish pond. I cast my line and won a Roy Rodgers pin which I immediately
pinned to my dress—“High-Ho Silver Away.” We went to friends nearby for a
swim and supper. I loved the water though I couldn’t swim. I played on the steps
until it was time for our meal.
The adults were chatting and my sister and brother were relaxed at the table. BUT,
it was time for Roy and me to go galloping—poolside seemed like the perfect
Skipping along the edge (just like the path I’ve walked today in the rain), Roy somehow unclipped from my dress, flying though the air and landing right in the
deep end…he was sinking. My pin—what was I to do?”
NATURALLY—I had to save him. I jumped in. No one heard the splash.
Did I mention I did not know how to swim? I caught Roy before he sank to the bottom.
Instinct took over. I began to kick, to move my arms, to hold my breath. Try as I
might, my little body was not able to reach the surface.
THEN, Tonto came. That’s my dad. He happened to look up and saw my head
skimming the water. He jumped right in—glasses, car keys, wallet…and, he rescued me.
It was a very melancholy ride home. (I did not know what that word meant). My
mother sat with me wrapping me in a towel and embracing me in her arms. She
was NOT letting me go. My sister and brother sat quietly in the back seat. I saw
tears. What I really wanted to tell them was—“I CAN SWIM,” but it was not the
time. The next day our neighbors invited us to visit and to enjoy their pool. I
immediately jumped in—NO FEAR…and I was swimming! Never could get me out
of the water. To this day, if you look closely, you can see
my gills (ha-ha!).
My dad also told stories—two I’ve never forgotten (both from the Bible). The
first…the story of Sampson. It would be a long time before I would cut my hair.
The second story, Joseph and his amazing coat of many colors. A little of my dad
has rubbed off on me—story telling binds us together. Today, I break open
Scripture stories in a NEW way…
I know that my dad would have loved to walk the Camino with me, but his legs no
longer do the miles. Walks along the ocean are his Camino.
Dad, this day I carried you in my HEART. You always knew I followed my ‘inner’
path, and you never asked me to go any other way than what was ‘right’ for me…
If I haven’t told you enough—
I whispered it in the wind this day.
I love you Joseph Mattucci—
sandy mattucci, your daughter