Mixed feelings

Here we are only 23 km from our destination, Santiago. Many have asked me how I feel about this journey coming to an end.

I see this more of a beginning than an end. Reaching Santiago is one physical end of this journey, there is still the travel to Finnistere, the “end of the world” as it used to be called in the times when the earth was thought to be flat. There is also my short visit to Cuenca to see where I spent three of my summers.

As for the Camino the tough part is about to be completed,however what I have experienced and lived on this Camino has only begun to be part of my life.

In the past four weeks I have walked through vineyards, very small villages, cities, fields of dancing in the wind wheat, ancient Roman paths, red dirt narrow roads, enchanting forests, misty paths, Eucalyptus forests and “ankle-breaking” small pathways.

I have walked hundreds of hours on my own, hundreds with new friends and acquaintances. I have been alone but never lonely.

I have connected with my past, present and thought about my future I have laughed with others and appreciated the differences each encounter brought to my Camino experience.

I have cried often; at times at the sheer beauty of the surroundings, at times during mass or visits to old churches, at times from strong memories and at times for no apparent reasons.

I have prayed often; for those who have left us and those who are still part of my life. I have reviewed parts of my life and tried to make peace with my mistakes and learning opportunities.

I have overcome blisters, sore legs and cramping feet. I have felt frustration with the times I lost my way, and joy after each day’s progress.

I have been overwhelmed by the concern and care from so many whom I have met. I have shared much with others who sought their own quest through this Camino journey.

Arriving in Santiago, and even simply seeing it’s cathedral outline from miles away will be quite the experience. I see this journey as a new chapter in mi life.

I expect it will be a difficult day- emotionally both for finally reaching this milestone but also the challenging task of saying goodbye to very special people (and even Nestor the donkey) who have blessed my journey.

All I can say right now is that I hope everyone gets to experience their own “Camino”….

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