Not Alone

William is the guy that takes most of the great nature pics around here. From a recent walk with his wife. They are out being “not alone” together.
(photo W Hayes)

At some point early on in my backyard Camino experience I used the word “alone” to describe in my logbook a lap that I just completed when no one was with me. I remember one occasion when I wrote that word in and then started walking on my next lap. And somehow all the birds and the dogs and whatever in the whole neighborhood was out chattering at me, “not alone”. It was sort of a crazy deal. From then on in the logbook I used the phrase “not alone”. So when you see that in the logbook you will know. I’m still using that to this day as a reminder to myself.

Karen from Cambridge had a wonderful blog post yesterday. She was not alone in her walk through the woods. And William from Alberta wrote her about his outdoor hikes and I know that he is never alone. It is healthy and encouraging to be engaged in Nature as we pass through. We are not just observers but are participants in the process.

We had some bizarre weather this morning here on the Island. There was a crazy thunderstorm, very ominous right at the time that I was starting a Zoom meeting with twenty five folks from the Cutaneous Lymphoma (skin cancer) Foundation. They had just watched the Phil’s Camino film and we were doing a QandA via Zoom. They were from all over the US and Canada. An hour and a half flew by. I could do one of those everyday I think, very energizing.

So, I think now I am going to call Buenos Aires and talk with Cris CSABC. It is time to make a decision about how to handle the Veranda party that we have scheduled for August 2020. I set a deadline of June first for myself so we could inform you of any plans concerning a get together.

time to mosey on loves, Felipé.

On Friday, From Karen, From Cambridge

Outside Cambridge, England.
(photo K Kelly)

Walking in the Woods

I’ve been musing this week on the healing power of Nature and of walking. Now we are allowed a little further from home in a car, I’ve taken to visiting Wandlebury Country Park. It’s an area of woods and meadows which surround an Iron Age fort, about two or three miles from home. I’ve been there at 6.30 am when I didn’t see another soul and I’ve been there on a Sunday afternoon when it was full of families picnicking.

It’s a healing place. The trees, the grass, the birds. Deer, hares, squirrels.

I’ve taken to walking a simple circuit of 3 or 4 km. With my cancer, I’m certainly not walking fast. But it’s peaceful, prayerful even. Alone, I can go at my own speed. Alone, I can be with the place. And it’s like pouring a calm green balm on my heart.

Over the past two months I’ve had times of deep loneliness. When I am there I am alone but not at all lonely.

One of the things I loved on my Caminos is walking alone. I wasn’t someone who developed a Camino family, though I certainly had friends I would eat with. But I loved this simple alone walking. I’m refinding that. Phil’s Camino is inspiring my Camino. I’m thinking now what alone but not lonely looks like and how do I take it back home. Maybe it’s one of the gifts i this Covid retreat time.

Karen Kelly, Caminoheads England Bureau Chief.

Feeling Like Summer

Tapastry by William Morris- Tree of Life 1910.

Feeling like summer is here. Hurrah! Time to unwind our kicky bodies and minds and air them out. Wow! So happy here at Raven Ranch.

Have a work day here at the ranch. Catherine and Dana coming to split firewood for their winter heat. And I think that we will be able to sneak in some archery at some point. Yea, life in the country.

As I am doing this Governor Cuomo is doing his daily report on the TV in the background. There are different stories going on simultaneously these days. Big city stories are different than a lot of rural America but we have to be in this together. We have lessons to learn.

Well, out of time for today.

make the most of the day loves, Felipé.

Ronaldo Had A Problem

Our angels are still here.
(photo P Volker)

I’m not really picking on Ronaldo but he did bring up an interesting point on FaceBook today. Seems he has some gizmo on his phone that reads his fingerprint to unlock it. OK, I’m good so far. Then one day it stopped working so his thinking is that he has been washing his hands so much lately that it has softened up his print and it looks different to the machine. How about that? Too much hand washing, what would our mothers say was my first thought. And who would have ever thought that this kind of thing would be a problem. It’s a brave new world.

Well, my Mother was such a clean freak that she even talked me into washing my mouth out one day. Just one time for a sassy young Felipé. And one day years later after I became a parent I asked our son Wiley, “Hey, have you washed your hands lately?” And he fired back, “Don’t call me Lately!” OK, OK, kids today.

It’s all fascinating and curious how this whole pandemic has forced itself unto us and upon our thinking. And not only that but it has done this so quickly. It has given us new problems and has taken some away maybe.

OK, a really gorgeous day happening here. It will dry out enough to do some more mowing. I meet with a client that needs a handrail and I have an archery lesson going tomorrow for the first time in months and have to get organized.

washing them loves, Felipé.

An End Of May Walking Schedule 5/26/20

William our CCBC on the job.
(photo W Hayes)

Nothing much has changed recently. We are meeting and walking and talking at the regular scheduled times. Just keeping our distance and no tapas for a while. So hope to see you. There has just been a trickle of pilgrims so far after the reopening.

Monday 0990-1000
Tuesday 1600-1700
Thursday 0900-1000
Sunday 1600-1700

OK for now, Felipé.

Taking A Breath


(photo stolen from Face Book)

We are going to have to dig deep into our fortitude to come up with the courage to do some necessary relaxing. Time to take a breath. I am sensing a certain tightness in us that is more than unbecoming, it could be downright dangerous. Are we patient enough? Are we forgiving enough?

Maybe time to hit the pause button. Time to give our whole being a holiday, a deep down recess. Let’s make sure we are feeding ourselves and not just bread alone. This just feels so good to write about it, to try and find the right words is refreshing. How can that be?

It is time for poetry or at least a good baseball movie. Time to cook with a new spice. Change it up a little or a lot.

Time for me to go. I need lunch and my corn needs feeding. It up about three inches now! Miss you all.

bless you loves, Felipé.

Things Are Aclutter

Wisteria holding our house up during the pandemic.
(photo P Volker)

It’s been two months now that we here in Washington State have been in lockdown. Two months without all the regular people traffic that used to swarm through here, our house I mean. And I am noticing that maybe it isn’t as clean and organized as when we have people visiting. Maybe this rainy day today is my day to do something about that. Maybe sort of a halftime shovel out and clean up. More lockdown to come but now is the time to regroup on some cleanliness.

I can get wrapped up in projects and forget the mundane stuff pretty easily. So usually some kind of breakdown has to happen to get my attention. That came to a head yesterday when a FaceBook friend had posted a video of ants and how they work together. That came in at exactly the wrong time for me as I was in the middle of fighting an ant infestation in our kitchen. Other FB friends were replying to the ant video with all these “isn’t nature wonderful” comments and I have to jump right in the middle of that with some semi grouchy words about my current struggles with these “cute” little guys. And then most of the friends switched over to stories about their own displeasure with infestations at their own casa.

Nature is like that, the cougar is cute till he is chewing on you then not so much. Yea, I can dig ants working together but when they are working together on you it is a little different story. Anyway, working together is a topic seems to be more important day by day as we all pitch in to corral this pandemic. That’s is what we need to talk more about.

But I digress maybe. Time to do some cleanup around here and maybe the ants would leave me alone for a while and find some more tempting low hanging fruit at your place. But the working together thing is good and we could learn some good lessons from our “cute” little ant friends.

Walking in a moment.

rain drops falling on my head loves, Felipé.

A New Day

Tapas try by William Morris- Tree of Life 1910.

Here we are at Caminoheads blog welcoming a new morning, a gift to us. There has been over twenty three hundred other mornings and other blogposts since May of 2014 when this all started. I am blessed and we are blessed to have this gift of time to mull it all over. And that is certainly what we have been doing through all of this.

Catherine is coming at 9 to walk and pray on our rosaries. I think that I will push to read the Joyful Mysteries today. There are three other sets of mysteries. That’s my vote, I feel there today. Well what are the Joyful Mysterious exactly Felipé.
Well funny you should ask.

The first one is the Annunciation. Mary is contacted through an angel.
The angel asks Mary whether she wants to participate in the world’s biggest happening. She is not sure of the details but says yes without regard. She is ready and willing to help.

The second mystery is the Visitation where the pregnant Mary travels to see Elizabeth. They are both with child. During the visit Jesus meets his cousin John the Baptist for the first time. They are both in their unborn state. Years later John’s preaching and baptisms will lead the way for Jesus’s ministry.

The third is the Nativity which maybe we all know the best. We all know about the story of Christmas. But the mystery is why a king would come to be born in a stable, truly the humblest of beginnings. What does that say.

Fourth we have the Presentation where Mary and Joseph brought their eight day old baby to the temple. This is traditional, the Law. This is the circumcision for Jewish males. But it was also to present the baby to the community. During this process Jesus is recognized as the Messiah and Mary is told that “a sword will pierce her heart” a forewarning of things to come. Yikes!

And finally the Fifth Mystery is where Jesus turned up missing. He had stayed behind in the Temple to speak while his parents frantically searched for him when they all were supposed to be leaving town. It was a grown up moment talking with the scholars, the first hint of his ministry. What will that ultimately mean?

OK, have to go. Remember it is Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday loves, Felipé.

Wrapping Up

Over the river to something new.
(photo K Burke)

I just got off the Zoom with my Bible Guys. We are still going strong during the pandemic via technology. We have one more session on our study of the last book of the Bible, Revelation. There are 22 chapters there so we have been at it almost half a year now. I am proud of us.
I don’t know what we are going to decide to do next but I hope it is something relatively easy.

So that is one wrap up and then there is Ryck with his news of moving to Washington DC to do this new job. He will have to wrap up his life here in the Pacific Northwest. I have yet to talk to him about the details of his plan. Hopefully we can get him to report from there for our blog.

Things are always beginning and ending, that is the nature of things. This too shall pass is another way to express this. The pandemic will eventually pass too although not overnight obviously. It is the time to be patient and observant.

Off I go to Saturday loves, Felipé.

Friday Ryck Our Caminoheads Puget Sound Bureau Chief

Our Ryck!
(photo R Thompson)

Caminoheads – Ryck Thompson-Post for Phil. May 2020

I am moving. I have accepted a job in Washington D.C. It is hard. It is hard to leave where I live here in Poulsbo. I love Poulsbo, WA. I love the people. Change is hard. Change is stressful. I was comfortable in my job. Too comfortable. It was no longer challenging to me. The people I worked with were great people. The job was a very good job. What was missing was what I call, “Feeling the burn”. “Feeling the burn” is what I define as stepping outside of my comfort zone to initiate change. Without change for me, there is no growth. Just as the seasons change, and Phil describes how he gets the wood ready during the summer so it can dry, and then stacked for the winter months, getting the corn planted for it to grow and be harvested, people also need change. Some people anyways. People like me. Like many of the people I had met on the Camino De Santiago. The Camino in itself was a “burn” which initiated a change in most of us I think. It was the hike, the “burn” itself which was far greater than it was to reach the destination.
I have 3 kids. 16, 13, 13. The twin 13 year olds Ryan and Sydney are taking the upcoming move as graceful as they can. My 16 year old daughter, Alexa is absolutely broken about leaving. I don’t blame her either. But there will invariably be a “burn” that they will all feel. They may not know it right now as they are so pist off at me for uprooting them across the country…..but they will feel this “burn”, and one way or another, they too will be forced to step outside of their comfort zones in life and change. By simple virtue of necessity.
Some people, perhaps just like those of you that are reading this now, we are nomadic by nature. For me, stillness is great for a moment, but it is the pushing through ahead that I crave. To clear my mind I go on boat rides on my boat (which I just sold to my great friend, Mike) or I will go on long car drives, just driving aimlessly. There is no destination for me, it is merely the constant flow of motion going forward. There is also a course for me, the course leads to a destination I do not believe I will ever get to. And I think for me, that is the point. The destination is spiritual growth. The constant state of growth is the goal. Stagnation equals death.
When I was walking my Camino in 2017, there were so many spots along the way where I questioned what the hell I was doing. If I had been 10 years younger, I would have much more preferred to be drinking from town to town, having one big Party. But that was no longer what I sought. I sought, the “burn”. The walk itself, It was a catalyst for change to me. It is in my soul. The rise of the Phoenix metaphor can be true with us all. Grow, great and true and at your mightiest, set ablaze and turn to ashes and become born once more to continue the “burn”.
My mother always has a home renovating project in process. I told her she reminds me of the “Winchester House” lady…(google it). That lady always had people working at her house. Building, course correcting, building some more. I told my mother, “Lady, the day I come to your house and there is no longer a project in process, I will be worried”. It was a joke, but it’s also true. She agreed.
Chop the tree. Split the wood. Stack the wood. Dry the wood. Plant the corn. Harvest the corn. Eat the corn. Burn the wood. Enjoy the slow moments. Watch the change of nature. Continue to grow. KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
“Feel the burn”.
I love you guys. I love Washington State, but it is now time to change course, and head down to the new destination, and continue building my spiritual projects. I don’t want the projects to ever end….and that, I think, is the point. CHEERS! Ryck:))

Well, that is the first that I have heard of Ryck moving to the East Coast and the Other Washington. Oh, it must be something very interesting, this new endeavor. Maybe we can coax some more news out of him. Anyway, we have not had a Caminoheads East Bureau Chief since Ron moved to Spain. Maybe we can sweet talk Ryck into staying on the team. I for one have always enjoyed his enthusiasm and seemingly boundless energy!

coming and going pilgrim love, Felipé.