Finding Patience Again

A pic from William our CCBC.
(photo W Hayes)

It was a few years ago now that I had been asked by one of our visiting pilgrims at Phil’s Camino, “What have you figured out?” I had just told her that our walks were reminding me of what I had heard about the salons in Paris long ago. Interesting people were coming and ideas were worked on and things were figured out. Something like that, a paraphrase, as I remember. But her question really did stop me in my tracks then. I worked on that for a long while on the blog.

Were we then and are we now entertaining ourselves or are we uncovering ideas that will be useful and make a difference? What have we come up with in all this time that we have dedicated to Caminoing around. And Cris CSABC asked in a comment what have we learned that will help us out presently in the pandemic?

I’m here sitting in the truck under a tree in the shade in West Seattle . My cell is being worked on and I am here with you as I wait for the new battery to be implanted. One of my nurses from the Institute is on the ranch today. So I had better get this blog done now as I won’t have time latter when she grabs my attention.

But back to the question. One of the things that came out of the Camino was the need for patience. I can remember Laura one of my walking buddies saying she was going to capitalize it from then on. That seems like a very useful commodity these days as the pandemic creeps along.

There on the Camino very seldom did events line up the way that you thought that they should. Things were few and far between. Events happened usually out of order. We were not strictly individuals and we shared time. The group needed to do things as a group and we waited or
hurried to catch up. Of course all of our needs were taken care of in the end but in ways unforeseen and unimagined.

That kind of sensibility is needed now when so much is out of place, unavailable or just plain strange. Our patience is needed to bridge the gaps in “normality”. Let’s try and remember what it was like on the trail and conger up that patience.

new battery loves, Felipé.

Maybe A Review

First ear of corn that I picked this year.
(photo Henna Volker)

I have a feeling that we probably attracted a few new blog readers from Annie’s crowds that she is getting at her Pilgrimage in Place Zoom events. So, today I thought that it would be good to have a review or perhaps an introduction for new arrivals. Maybe it would help to get them up to speed and keep them for the long run.

This Caminoheads blog started in the spring of 2014 as a way to report the details of my upcoming pilgrimage in Spain on the Camino. I was originally sparked by Martin Sheen’s film the Way that started me off on the whole pilgrimage journey. The blog has been running continuously since 2014 and posts come out every day.

The conversation here revolves around three and now the four C’s; Cancer, Catholicism, Camino and Corn. We talk about those topics singlely and in combination since they all seem to lean on each other in my life. So this is a journal of my life over the years. This work is closely related to Phil’s Camino the trail and Phil’s Camino the documentary films. Annie O’Neil is intertwined in all this, she the Producer/ Director of Phil’s Camino and Phil’s Camino – So Far So Good.

You will notice that most Friday’s we have a guest writer for you and a little variety from my usual slant. These folks are the Caminoheads Bureau Chiefs and are scattered around the globe. Let me introduce you: Cris (Buenos Aires), John (Wellman, Iowa), Ryck (Washington DC), Steve (Ashland, OR), Karen (Cambridge, England), Rho (Southern CA), William (Alberta, Canada) and Ron and Ann (Astorga, Spain). Also we have Father Tom Hall (callsign Padre) our Spiritual Advisor and Kathryn Barush (callsign Catalina) our Historian.

So, if you are a new reader hang in there for a few weeks and pick up the flow of the conversation. It can be quaint and quirky. It is all fun and hopefully inspirational. We walk along day by day and buoy each other up. Largely this blog is kept alive by the saying, “When you get to Santiago your Camino begins.” That is the riddle that we live by.

welcome aboard loves, Felipé.

I’ve Got No Lessons For You Today

The leaves are starting.
(photo P Volker)

Geez, wasn’t that a great post yesterday? How am I going to follow that I ask? Hmm. Sitting outside on the ranch. Everything is calm with the sun creeping across the landscape. Have a Zoom QandA here in a few minutes. It’s Annie’s group and they just watched Phil’s Camino and hopefully have questions for us.

Saw some cowboy writing yesterday which was taking about being “ON the ranch” rather than the usual at the ranch. Most of us here talk about being “on Vashon Island” and “at Vashon” seems wrong. And I remember when I was visiting Malta the island nation the natives used “in Malta” when I wanted to say “on Malta”. But whatever I like the feel of “on the ranch” and I don’t know exactly why. Wow, I suppose this is some sort of language lesson that I cobbled together.

Carol, my handler, is about ready to call me and get me organized for this Zoom. Just enjoying the last few minutes of quiet before the show gets to warming up. Ravens flying overhead, fall leaves raining down on me as I sit. Oh there’s Carol!

OK, great session with Annie and all the folks that she gathered on her Zoom meeting. A hour is hardly enough time. Cris and Ron, two of our Caminoheads Bureau Chiefs we’re there. Author Esther Janzsen showed up to add some kind words. She called it “a love fest on Phil”. Geez!
Anyway, I would say they are my people, that is the way I see it.
And Annie is doing such a great job with this venue. She’s got authors and filmmakers and all kinds of interesting folks lined up to be in these weekly productions. Maybe check out her FaceBook group Pilgrimage in Place to learn more.

OK, next project today is to move some firewood for a friend. See you soon. Will be back on Zoom at 3PM with Pilgrimage in Place.

OK loves, Felipé.

A Spanish Lesson From Cris

“As many of you know by now, I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I still live here in these latitudes, 15 blocks away from the clinic where I was born, and 15 blocks away from the house I lived as a child. And while because of my job (and most of my Camino friends!) I speak a lot in English, my first language is Spanish. So today, let me share something about this language…

“Recordar” means “Remember”.
In Spanish, words come from Latin, and in Latin, it would be “Re-Cordis”… Re: would be to do it it again; and “Cordis” leads to “Corazón” (which in English is “Heart”)

Eduardo Galeano, who was a very powerful Uruguyian writer, said that Caetano Veloso (who is a very special Brazilian singer) said that the verb “RECORDAR” coming from the Latin “re-cordis”, means “to pass through the heart one more time” …

And although neurology and biology say that to remember is something else, I feel more comfortable with what Caetano Veloso says. And let me tell you why:

J. is a short, verborragic Spanish man, in his 60ies that I met in the Camino in 2011. That day we met was a very intense day of walking, with physical pain as my back was acking, my soul was experiencing a tsunami, and I was also brooding over anger. I got to Portomarin with the last bit of energy in my body, and was ready for a “Nestea” full of sugar and put my legs up… but when I passed by the bar, J. was there and he invited me to sit with him. I did that and after 5 minutes, in his Spanish with a cadence from Valencia, my whole body found the energy and the peace it didnt have. And then, the conversation just flown (as we know it happens!) and J. who knew me only for having a Camino-side conversation, said a couple of things that touched my heart in the most amazing way.

A few days ago, almost 9 years later, I received a call from this other continent, it was J. Talking with him was going back to that day, to that section of the Camino, to that bar, to that table, to that conversation, to those words … and to talk to him a few days ago was more of that conversation that happened in 2011 and it was something else too, because we met in Valencia in 2014, and I got to meet his wife and his sister and some of his friends. A few days ago when he called, he said to me: “I was thinking of you … when I came back I told my wife and she said that our daughter had decided the name of my new granddaughter who is still in the womb… and guess what? She will be called “Cristina”… and he went on and said: “I always remember what you told me that afternoon in Portomarin… ”

… transcend, to be in the thoughts of other people, to be remembered for what was shared, …

… to pass through the hearts of others one more time, if possible with some frequency … that’s another big part of this journey…

Love in Spanish,

Summer On The Wane

William up high.
(photo W Hayes)

There are a few leaves falling, just a trickle. If you weren’t noticing maybe you wouldn’t see. It is just the beginning of the change. Not enough to count really but an idea of things to come.

These are beautiful days here right now. August traditionally the driest month here is living up to that. The wells are dipping low. The deer are spending more and more time finding suitable forage. It’s a good year for apples and pears, not so good for corn and tomatoes.

I personally am so glad that all of these things are paying very little attention to the political gyrations happening this month. So glad there is this natural metronome that has it’s own rhythms and sensibilities.

Right now I am in the middle of my visit to the Institute. This place has it’s own rhythms and sensibilities; think it has it’s own gravity. My scan and blood work are complete. Just waiting for my doc appointment to hash out the news from all that. It’s pretty much an all day deal today.

Thinking that it is nap time for Felipé.

sleepy loves, Felipé.

While We Are Here

First itty bitty ear of early corn. Not a great year this 2020. But our daughter-in-law thought we should celebrate. Of course.
(photo Henna Volker)

It is certainly a time of uncertainty for us all in these days. The future seems to slip slide around more than ever. We are less likely to make plans, one of our best usual activities for one and it has change our lives in a myriad of ways.

Fortunately or unfortunately I have been living in this twilight zone for nine years now since my cancer diagnosis. Somehow this zone of uncertainty seems normal and doable to me now after all this training. Maybe I am some kind of expert in this area!

Have a scan tomorrow at the Institute. Gone all day because I will hang in there for the blood work, scan, doc appointment and research meeting. That is a lot but I have done it before. Anyway this is probably the hardest hurtle for us, this anxious time of wondering what the scan will bring. But fortunately even these have become less painful for me after so many. I could say they have become routine but it’s not quite that good.

So, having the faith that leads me to understand that God is present and active in my life is my biggest asset. My journey is very much like jumping across a river going from rock to rock. The way isn’t always clear but one jump at a time and progress is made. Faith in God’s grace and my ability and my team’s ability is vital.

One of the things that I have on my agenda is to talk with a person who is experiencing relapses of covid. She requested that she would like to talk with folks that are living with long term problems to get some inspiration and knowhow. OK, I think that I am ready now to talk with her after I have practiced on you all. Thanks.

Off we go.

long term loves, Felipé.

August 24th


Oh, Monday morning in the aftermath of Corntine 2020. What a good time! We had 18 folks stop by yesterday between 1 and 9 PM so they were plenty spread out. I’m pretty tired out today but heck it was an event!

Seeing that I fell asleep four times while I was trying to write this I am going to sign off and just call it a day.

Aftermath of the 2020 Corntine. Thanks Linda for the lovely flowers.
(photo P Volker)

keeping it alive at the ranch loves, Felipé.

Corntine🌽 Day One In The Books.

🌽Corntine Eve🌽
(photo P Volker)

OK, it was a little rainy in the AM but things started rolling when Kelly got here around 1. And the weather improved in the afternoon which should carry through day two. So the final count was an even dozen visitors coming and going for Saturday.

And we had some good food and wine like normal. Kelly brought a camping stove and his homemade chili and cornbread. By the way that is about as close to fresh corn as we got as our corn isn’t ripe yet, a slow year this 2020. So thanks for that Kelly, saved the day!

We have another crew coming today. Kelly and Sharie will be back also. Everyone enjoyed the get together, happy for a break from the isolation. And I thought that we did an excellent job of social distancing and covid discipline.

There is a beautiful blue sky now with the morning sun pouring in. Catherine will be here in a few minutes for our rosary walk. So we are carrying on in a manner appropriate to the situation. Nothing much more can be done.

I am thinking of our far flung Caminoheads Neighborhood hither and yon around the globe. Hope you guys are hanging in there with all the grace and power you can muster.

neighborhood loves, Felipé.

See, It’s Brightening Up

🌽Corntine Eve🌽
(photo P Volker)

It’s Saturday the first day of the 2020 Corntine 🌽. The weather outside looks iffy but I think that the rain danger is starting to disperse. I’m predicting the afternoon to be hopping in a 2020 sort of distanced way.

Just had my Bible Guys class. We studied Jesus’s miracle of the healing of the Gentile Woman‘s Daughter. I love these miracle studies. Now to talk with you.

During my class I got a chance to tell my story about the hitchhiker that’s I blogged on several days ago. Because the class story was about serving the “Other“. And the blog story was about serving the “Other”. Not that an Asian man is so much the other but in the time of Covid things are different more. A hitchhiker is for sure the “Other” and really everyone is the “Other” now, which is truly the scary part. Covid has driven a wedge between all of us.

But we walk on right, yelling to each other through our masks and being six feet apart? Ah, a little more than a rough patch in the road but not something that with ultimately do us in. We will get beat up in the process I know.

It looks like this afternoon we have a half dozen to a dozen folks that have said they will wander in. They won’t be all here at the same time. Kelly made chili and cornbread and is bringing a Coleman stove to keep it all warm. Guys are always camping I’ve always said.

We will be open tomorrow 10 to 10 also. So if you are close stop by. You don’t have to bring anything. I am sure there will be plenty as usual. It probably will be simpler if your tapas are simple, just of the toothpick food variety if you must.

OK, time to go. Have to scurry around in preparation.

brightening loves, Felipé.


Hair on Fire.
(photo P Volker)

Yea, spell check wasn’t so keen on it either. You know I have been working on my “a” words lately. That word, adazzle, came of of the mind of Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit priest in the 19th century in the poem Pied Beauty. And we won’t confuse that with bedazzle which is something else.

All that is a result of my reading in James Martin’s A Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything. It was a gift from Catalina the Catholic from California in the time of Covid and I think this needs a Conclusion; there. He, Father Martin, gave a prayer at the DNC last night and I tried to watch the whole thing to catch him and in the end didn’t. Was he actually on?

I just found this:

“Loving God,

Open our hearts to those most in need:

The unemployed parent worried about feeding his or her children.

The woman who is underpaid, harassed or abused.

The Black man or woman who fear for their lives.

The immigrant at the border, longing for safety.

The homeless person looking for a meal.

The LGBT teen who is bullied.

The unborn child in the womb.

The inmate on death row.

Help us to be a nation where

every life is sacred,

all people are loved,

and all are welcome.

Amen.“ James Martin, SJ

OK, out of time for now.

adazzled loves, Felipé.