Camino de Santiago—Day 6
How do I begin to pen what has MOVED me when so much within me is STILL MOVIN’?
I walked in so much BLISS today. I stopped, gazed upon the rising sun enveloping the landscape as tears rolled down my cheeks drenching the soils beneath my boots. “Thank you God for this Life!” So many persons came into ‘focus.’ I clicked snapshots and became ever mindful of a teacher in my life, Jan Phillips. I took my first ‘real’ photography workshop with Jan AND since then I’ve not stopped SHOOTING! I gave thanks for her with every ‘image’ that came before me…that whispered, “NOW, click NOW.” I’m mindful of ‘all’ the women Jan has ‘brought’ together. Many of those ‘sisters’ remain etched in the fabric of my life…
(MOST especially the women from the International Women’s Writer’s Guild)
Jan’s life is “loving kindness” AND it was she who told me things about myself that I heard before, yet didn’t believe. Now I do…
“Because the One I love lives inside you I lean as close to you as I can…”
Yes, that refrain remained with me as I walked…silently I hummed, and hummed, and hummed. I’m amazed at how my legs have strengthened…my blistered feet callousing over letting me know that we’re going to do this, Sandy.
I don’t know a single pilgrim without BLISTERS…needles & thread are sold out, tape is a priceless commodity. Blister bandages are worth more than gold.
I laugh to myself when I think of the pilgrims who traversed this land—NO way markers, NO REI Backpacks, NO Merrell boots, NO walking poles, NO ‘food’ stops to purchase a pilgrim’s lunch or a hot coffee. These early pilgrims did NOT have dry-fit clothes, sunscreen, rain gear—AND they walked…not to punish themselves, but as a journey of forgiveness (and THIS could be understood in many forms).
I reached Los Arcos in the afternoon…there was some on-going construction so MARKERS to the center were a bit skewed. Out she came…the most beautiful “Crone,” bending to pick some fresh lavender. Her hair was soft as snow, and as she rose, she looked into my eyes and said, “Buen Camino.” SHE walked with me enough of the way to get me to the path.
I walked to the church. The doors were locked so I went beyond the arch to capture a photo. An older gent greeted me with “Buen Camino” and I inquired as to the time the church doors open. He spoke no English and my Spanish was ‘poco’, BUT we understood each other. ‘Cinco” he responded. He put his hands together in prayer…gently took my shoulders in his hands…kissed my left cheek and then my right. What could I say but MUCHAS GRACIAS.
I walked back through the arch and noticed a little man coming out of the church. I addressed him, “Sir,” just before he locked the door. “Come, come in for a momento.” He said he’d be back. I ENTERED and ‘the BEAUTY caught my breath.’ I heard, ‘it is the same BEAUTY that is inside you…’ and the bells began to toll.
I did not ask the three individuals whom I met if I might take their photo…I WISHED to hold the images of these persons in my MIND’S eye as Eckhart’s words spilled over my OPENED soul… “May your eyes be the eyes through which God sees YOU!” I’m seeing God EVERYWHERE and the most majestic temples that have held my breath ARE the natural landscapes…no doors, no windows, NEVER locked—always there even for the eye that forgets to STOP to see!
The sun was vibrant today. I sat in the square and ordered my first coke and a pizza with pepperoni…yes, I did. I ate the WHOLE thing and licked my fingers. No, I did not forget my manners—well, perhaps I did for a moment.
Some know—if ever this be read…I’m NOT to eat the food I devoured. A long story. In 2005, I was diagnosed with Systemic Mastocytosis. What in God’s name is that? That was my response when the diagnosis was presented to me. So many serious turning points at/in that moment in my life.
While my faith has always been my guide & strength, stressors were ‘beating’ me. I found my way or a way found me to Dr. Mariana Castells (Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA) and to a society tirelessly, supportively, compassionately working on a cure for this dis-ease.
I’ve overcome countless hurdles under her care. Presently I’m in a benign stage ever aware to care for body and soul…AND, I’m living gratefully. I might have a mast cell incident later, a few extra red speckles under the skin—BUT, the pizza was worth it—mmm-GOOD!
I could wait no longer to walk this Camino. I came upon some impasses that attempted to ‘block’ this pilgrimage, but there are ‘special’ people who helped make this journey possible for me. I AM supposed to be here in this moment because there will NEVER be another moment like this—the rest of my days. NEVER!