The Beatitudes of the Pilgrim #10

A  time and place to contemplate  perhaps.

A time and place to contemplate perhaps.

BLESSED ARE YOU PILGRIM, IF YOU DISCOVER THAT THE “CAMINO” HOLDS A LOT OF SILENCE; AND THE SILENCE OF PRAYER; AND THE PRAYER OF MEETING WITH GOD WHO IS WAITING FOR YOU.

This best describes the time alone that you spend walking. There is time to contemplate and commune even in August which is the busiest month there. Toward the end, after Sarria, finding the time and space for this was harder in the dense flow of pilgrims.

But as we know, God is always present and it is just us that gets distracted with the busyness around us. But there is plenty of silence and time in most of the earlier parts of the trail. The Meseta is the best. A lot of people tend to by-pass this part but it is the best for being out in the middle of nowhere. Kelly said that this was his favorite part and I would have to agree. Of course, the whole Camino is good in it’s own way but for silence the Meseta is priceless.

Well, we are at the end of our Beatitudes with this being number ten and it is getting time to move on down the trail to other things. Just a few last minute items for you. I hope that this has been helpful and thought provoking. It has for me. There are a lot of riddles in there to chew on. There are little puzzles to contemplate. I am currently working on this phrase, “the silence of prayer”. And we must say thank you to the author whomever that may be. It is an unsigned gift to us and we are grateful. Ever onward, love, Phil.

The Beatitudes of the Pilgrim #9

The Camino is not all work.

The Camino is not all work.

BLESSED ARE YOU PILGRIM IF ON THE WAY YOU MEET YOURSELF AND GIFT YOURSELF WITH TIME, WITHOUT RUSHING, SO AS NOT TO DISREGARD THE IMAGE IN YOUR HEART.

If I am not mistaken this sounds suspiciously like Dilly Dally here or Smelling the Roses. Or maybe more random acts like jumping off a medieval bridge into the river on a hot afternoon or howling into the emptiness of the Meseta. Strange but true.

The Camino is not supposed to be all work. Make room for FUN. Make room for the JOY. Make room for ICE CREAM. Make room for SURPRISES. Make room for the UNPLANNED AND THE YET UNDISCOVERED. Love you guys, Phil.

The Beatitudes of the Pilgrim #8

A light to guide our path.

A light to guide our path.

Blessed are you pilgrim, if you search for the truth and make of the “camino” a life and of your life a “way”, in search of the one who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

This to me is the over arching message of the our walk. That we will be blessed if we take our experience and make a life of it. And this life will be a journey, a search for the one who said, “I am the Way (Camino in Spanish), the Truth and the Life.” This is Jesus talking to us. This is my interpretation of the situation.

Throughout the Pilgrim Beatitudes the word camino is used five times and it is always in lower case and in quotation marks. I think that the author is using this to refer to the physical walk, the el Camino de Santiago. And this thing/experience is a facsimile of the real Camino, or the Way that is following Christ. It is a training ground to get us started in the right way.

Yesterday I got the accounting done and handed in. I am so glad that is done! This morning I gave a talk on my walk to my old friends in my men’s bible class and their wives. That went well and it was definitely not a chore. And some time today I have to get some walking in also. OK, that’s all for now. Love, Phil.

The Beatitudes of the Pilgrim #7

What is my next surprise ?  In those shadows?

What is my next surprise ? In those shadows?

BLESSED ARE YOU PILGRIM, WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE WORDS TO GIVE THANKS FOR EVERYTHING THAT SURPRISES YOU AT EVERY TWIST AND TURN OF THE WAY.

It will sort of pick at you. Or nudge you. Or trip you up. Or suggest. Or trick you. Or show you something. Or invite you. Or draw blood. Or give pain. Or take away pain. Or give you something. Or have you meet someone. Or…

As I reread this Beatitude now again and again the phrase “to give thanks” jumps out and is my surprise at this turn. Have I done that? Have I done that sufficiently? It is showing me something.

I hope that there are some clouds to shade you as you walk today! Love to you, Phil.

The Beatitudes of the Pilgrim #6

Middle of Nowhere.

Todd and I and that looks like Roman Road under our feet.

BLESSED ARE YOU PILGRIM, IF YOU DISCOVER THAT ONE STEP BACK TO HELP ANOTHER IS MORE VALUABLE THAN A HUNDRED FORWARD WITHOUT SEEING WHAT IS AT YOUR SIDE.

This kind of thing was happening constantly along the Camino. Sometimes you would be going back, or waiting for someone to make sure that they made it to shade and water. Kelly developed one of his famous quotes which goes, “Shade Thyself”. Which means protect yourself and and the guy next to you by extension.

Watching out for each other became an important activity especially out on the Meseta and the mountains and other remote places. Kelly kept me going and to town numerous times when I would be dilly dallying when I should have been walking distracted by something instead of getting out of the heat. Later, Rick would range ahead to get lodging and then walk back to carry my pack for a few kilometers at the end of some days. Angels they were. And sometimes I would be a help to them.

I remember one Korean woman what was alone and having trouble that Mary and Angela and I kept our eyes on. And people I didn’t know kept their eyes on me/us. And maybe we didn’t have a common language but we were communicating on the most important things.

Speaking of the other guy, I would love to talk with these other guys if anyone knows how to reach them. You can email me at caminoheads@icloud.com with contact info or have them just shoot me an email. And guys would be the trio of Helen, Linda and Milo. Or Alvaro who we sometimes called Big Al. He was from Madrid and heading to Peru I think. And finally Clara the teacher from Assisi. Oh and Emily from USA. These people were amazing and a big help to me.

OK, off to do my pile of paperwork. Wish me luck, love, Phil.

The Beatitudes of the Pilgrim # 5

What is around that corner?

What is around that corner?

BLESSED ARE YOU PILGRIM, IF YOUR KNAPSACK IS EMPTYING OF THINGS AND YOUR HEART DOES NOT KNOW WHERE TO HANG UP SO MANY FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS.

Yes, yes and yes. Tears of joy are rolling done my cheeks right now. And if I had to pick one of these Beatitudes as the one that spoke to me the most, this would be the one. This right here was the big realization for me. This is so seriously true that …

The things that you carry from the beginning of the trail in France at some point start to became more of a hindrance than a help. I mean the total weight and you start seriously looking at your gear daily to cull stuff out. You learn that there is a price to pay for your being attached to these things. Your body pays and then that starts working on your mind and it starts paying and then your spirit starts to pay finally if you let it get that far.

Right, you need some of that stuff to maintain yourself. Yea, but which stuff and how much of it? The more I can jettison the more I will be able to do and see and participate in the next day is my evolving thinking. And isn’t the doing, seeing and participating in what I am here for anyway and why I paid thousands of dollars, speaking of paying. Are we supposed to be beasts of burden?

And the more you can lighten your load the more that you can participate and therefore take in. Maybe lightening will allow you to take that side trip where you will… Maybe the lightening will let you be awake and aware enough to catch someone’s eye. That is the someone who will carry your pack or doctor your feet or have that little bit of information or have that really big bit of information that you have been looking and hoping for for quite a while now (read Sherif’s words in the comments of the last few days).

Anything could happen around the next corner and usually does. It is said that the Camino is full of surprises and you start looking for surprises. Yes, people and places that will speak to you. And sunsets and moonrises, little snails and giant fields of sunflowers, thirst and refreshment, pain and smiles, crowds and emptiness, hellos and good byes. You will become open and looking to see what will happen next.

If you are ready like this you will start too collect the most amazing experiences and memories. Your pack is becoming lighter and your heart is filling with what you had been hoping for long before you had ever heard of this walk. My thoughts today and praise the Lord. Love, Phil.

Sparked and Up Early Part 2

Center of Town.

Center of Town but Don’t Know the Name.

(Please make sure to read the first part of this two part post. It will appear below this. So scroll down and start there.)

One hour is all that I get today to wrap up these thoughts. We can do this. So, one thing was the idea that we were all changed by that experience. And I think that generally it is subtle. Ok, we may come back wearing the Camino T-shirt but what about all that deeper stuff that is going to ooze out in time. You know that it is in there. Yesterday I fried up my French toast with olive oil which I never would have done “before”. That flavor is oozing out to compliment the other ingredients and to make a whole subtlety different, better.

And before I get back to Rick’s thoughts I want to apologize for not getting a pic up of him and his daughter Maryka. On the whole trip I think that I took a handful of shots. Most if not all of the great pix that I have put up so far are from the first part of my walk and taken by Kelly. Some beautiful stuff, thank you Kelly. He put those on my I Pad using a wire. So, good but they only capture up to Leon and then we had our bus trip ahead to Samos. I have very few pix after that although Maryka did email some beauties. But try as I have I can’t figure how to get those to the blog. But I have a new plan as to how to move them so there is hope for a better situation.

Back to Rick’s observation. It looks like to me that he got really into the land and the way that the trail laid on the topography. And he got into learning how to correctly pronounce the names of the towns, rivers and other features. Awesome. He can now describe a particular climb or descent in these vivid terms. Very cool. And yes, now that I give it the thought that it deserves he is right I for one and a lot of those around me tended to not do that. We didn’t sit at the end of the day and really talk about it in those terms. That hill that we climbed to me is remembered by who I was with at the time that was talking me up, sometimes almost step by step. I remember my eyes lighting on heart-shaped rocks that would occur at the most amazing times to be a message that we were loved.

It is said that the Camino is a living thing and a complex living thing with many ways of looking at it and all good. Just a testament to it’s richness. So, yes let’s see just how many ways that we can look at it. And back to the paragraph from yesterday where I confused you with all the names and the comings and goings. It is confusing if you try and keep track of it by what individuals did or didn’t do, yes? But when you consider that each one of those great unique individuals while bonding with their fellow walkers formed a fabric, a flow, a river. Each held it together for a short period of time with those around it. And they moved across the landscape making that line on the map.

Later, in the flow of pilgrims from Sarria on, when I was with Maryka she said that she felt like we were two drops in a great river. Exactly. But really drops only exist when the are out of the of the river, right? And the river by that time in August was in flood stage and overflowing its banks and overwhelming the system. And we weren’t bonding as easily with those around us because it was such a rush. We were all swept along.

So, now that I am musing about this and remembering looking at maps of the Camino, before I got there to experience it, when the trail was a thin line of unvarying width as it went across the topography. But now to see it as a living thing it looks and acts more like a river to me. Some times it is just a trickle and sometimes it is calm and moves peacefully but at other times and places it gets unruly and overflows its banks and cuts new channels. And the towns are along its banks and you can swim in to visit a cafe, church or water closet when you want but but it flows on regardless.

OK, I am just about out of time and I have to work on my taxes as they are due in by Friday. Maybe I will find some heart-shaped rocks to cheer me on as I climb this particular hill. thanks for putting up with me. Love, Phil.

Sparked and Up Early Part 1

Couldn’t sleep, thinking, moon coming on, remembering, the morning is not here yet. Something has got me moving. I slipped out of the bedroom and my dog is all over me and I know what he’s thinking. He’s thinking that we are up early because we are off on a hunting trip today. Sorry buddy, maybe tomorrow.

I feed Sture and make breakfast for myself. French toast comes together from slices of stale baguette and very fresh eggs from a neighbor. I fry that up with olive oil and put a big spoonful of Rebecca’s blackberry jelly on top. And with coffee, nice.

But this isn’t about breakfast or cooking. Last evening Rick brought Kelly over for a reunion and that is where this all started. Remember I said that I would give you a report. Yea, the Three Amigos together again after our various Camino experiences. Kelly and Rick looked great.

We talked Camino and Rebecca joined us. News of great people, places and events were shared by Rick. Kelly, the last back, had news about folks that I had met, some who I had heard about and some that were totally new to me. So I served the flan that I had made earlier in the day. That was my second flan adventure by the way and it turned out good though slightly different. But this isn’t about French toast or flan or cooking.

Rick talked about his walk after leaving Santiago. He loved Moosha (sp?, off my maps) but skipped Finisterre proper. And he went into detail about his and my walk together where separated from Kelly. We all had catching up to do.

After the guys had taken off, Rebecca asked how I thought it went and I told her that something was odd although I couldn’t put my finger on it. Something was off. Kelly and Rick had been there in the flesh and blood with us a minute ago but something was different and it was disconcerting. Things were slightly off. And that is what had me not sleeping and up early and writing to you and well to myself.

What had happened was that we had changed, slightly. We were there in our physical bodies but it seemed that we weren’t the Rick, Kelly nor Phil that I we where when we were last together in July. I think that we were slightly off to each other but I hate to speak for other people. But this is all good, I am sure.

Dawn is here. Sture is wondering why his master is slightly off. I am thinking that this post is getting too long, too wordy. Hmmm.

But also something else showed up that has sparked my interest. Both Rick and Kelly touched on topics that got me thinking and moving early. What they said independently was related as they talked about the same thing, I think, although they come at it from different angles. Interesting.

Kelly talked about real people on the trail by name. Names included Sherif, Cherry and Anse. I am going to borrow those names from Kelly to try and describe a dynamic here so bear with me. I hope that the real people don’t mind but this is pretty factual. Ready? Here we go: So, I talked with Sherif on my first or second day but didn’t walk with him till later. Cherry came in and we met and at some point walked together. Kelly walked with her. Then Sherif and Cherry walked together and had big adventures. I walked with Kelly a lot but not all the time. Kelly and Emily walked a lot together or was that earlier? Then I had to bus ahead to met Rick. Kelly stayed to keep walking and then Anse, from Netherlands, showed up. OK, are you thoroughly confused? Yes, good, I was successful. Keep reading please.

Then Rick brought up an observation, that we pilgrims, never talked about the towns that we had gone through that day. I protested saying that we dilly dallied around for hours in the evenings discussing the day, how was that possible?

Well look, Kelly will be here in half an hour to get me up on my feet and walking again so have to go for now and get ready. Sorry to leave you with this cliffhanger but we will have time to bring it together tomorrow. OK? Thanks, I knew you would understand. Love, Phil.