I thought that calling was strong enough… starting years ago, as whispers in my head. “Camino, Camino, Camino”… A few years ago, I would chance on some blog, article or website that had to do with the… CAMINO. Then February of this year, the calling was more of a “head bong” – the type you hear with those old fashion Asian cylinders that call people to prayer.
The “bong” noise was faint at first – like a soft chime. Through the days, the chimes became bells, and the bells become BONGS. Loud ringing BONGS in my head, at the most odd time of the day. AND THEN… the thoughts came – – Go to the Camino. Do the Camino. Walk the Camino, Experience the Camino.
Please know I am a very grounded person. I don’t walk around with my head in the clouds (although my hubby might contest this) and I stand to be rather logical at times. But this was a calling. A calling I talked about early February. A calling that found me on May 13th at 7:05 AM setting my first step on the official Camino way. A calling that carried me more than 500 km and a month trekking each day, be it rain, sun, sweltering sun, mist, cold wind right to Santiago de Compostella.
When I arrived in Compostela, I knew I had reached my goal. OR, I THOUGHT I had reached my goal. After all, wasn’t the intention to walk to Compostela, get my Compostela from the official office, head out to Finnistere and complete my dream. Whohoo! … I thought so. I thought so, with all my heart.
Then, the return. Now, please don’t get me wrong. I live a FABULOUS life. I have a family I love and who love me, my sweetie with whom I have been married 25 years this October, two beautiful daughters and one soon-to-be son-in-law, loving siblings, a warm modest home, savings and now the status of retired. So why would the Camino call me again? or is it STILL?
What is the appeal? My sister Suzanne asked me this exact question on Friday… And frankly, I can’t answer… It’s such a complex attraction – the easy life of not having to worry about anything but clean underwear (and that’s a level of tolerance) – a few bits of food to eat, water, good shoes or boots, a direction and lots of walking… Is this what the Camino is about? Not at all. It’s all about…
Being in awed of all that surrounds us
Being aware of the simple change in nature, from region to region
Being aware of our own solitude, and ability to cope with said solitude
Getting to know our amazing capacities – when we think we can”t go any further, we do. When we think we can’t get up from the bed, we do. When we think we can’t get out in the rain, we do. When we think we don’t know anyone at the dinner table, we met. When we think we don’t really need to go to evening blessings, we do and feel better for it.
Opening your heart to everything… to the endless beauty of nature. To the endless sensual experiences; smelling the flowers and plants, watching a sunset, eating the local food and drinking the local wine, listening to the birds in the morning or the gypsy music playing in the bar, and seeing – – seeing the wind play in the fields and making it look like a ballet. Seeing the old bits of houses left and trying to imagine who lived there. Feeling the muscles in the legs so tired but happy when shoes are removed and legs are resting on the two inch mattress of the albergue. Listening to pilgrim stories at dinner, and catching a conversation with someone who speaks your language. Being the only one on the road and seeing the sun rise over the vineyard.
THAT is a smidgeon of what the Camino is about. A smidgeon, nothing more.
And the calling gets stronger… Now, rather than come to the Camino, it’s more of a “Return to the Camino”… and I wish it were just whispers here and there. It’s more like a loud wake-up call in some low-cost hotel “THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!!”…. Rogue travelers know this obnoxious intrusion in our morning dreams.
So when to go back? Sept? too busy for us. Nov? snow….. Mid April to end of May? ahhhhhh – – – – – nice option……
for now, I will enjoy the middle of the night sudden awakening to “eh, Where am I and what city am I in, AND (most important) do I have to get DOWN from a bunk bed for a bio break? moment. YES, they happen still.
i sense the Camino was a start, but not a finish to a dream… this is layer one of the proverbial onion! What shall be next?
Que sera sera!
I am excited and enthusiast about potentials –
and one little last statement for tonight – – – from my Camino shirt
Don’t dream your life, LIVE your dream!