Well I’m going through the motions today. I have been down for two days with tummy troubles. But I am bouncing back as usually usual. I am pretty much mailing this post in. I have two things for you which are stellar in their own ways.

For one of my 4C’s I give you the Corn Goddess.
(stolen from FaceBook)

And a piece that I also stole from FaceBook which our friend Steve Watkins wrote recently. It is for another C, Camino. Thanks Steve.

When Dana and I served at Pilgrim House in Santiago de Compostela back in 2018, and if I was having a bad day, I’d walk down to the cathedral square and watch pilgrims arrive. There is no way to describe the joy and/or raw emotion of someone who’s just concluded a 500-mile journey on foot, and oftentimes a much longer quest of the heart. I dare you to watch something like this and not be moved.

OK, off to walk. Will have William tomorrow.

dare you loves, Felipé.

A Hitchhiker

I was driving home after my weekly shopping trip to the IGA. There was a young man trying to get a lift going my way and I just pulled over without a thought. Well, actually I did have a thought and it was a memory of Catherine’s recent comment about maybe doing something for a person of color. In a glance I had seen he was an Asian. But I didn’t think about the Covid which makes hitchhiking a hard business. He was happy to get picked up.

This young guy’s story was that he had been in a really bad skateboard accident and he has found himself on disability. And now he was trying to reinvent himself to get off disability and get on his way. He was volunteering at local small farm which is where he was trying to get to when I met him.

I had a feeling that Wiley would know who this fellow was and vice versa. And that was true as I introduced myself as Wiley Dad. I felt for the guy as he told of trying to extricate himself from the trap of disability. Our conversation was coming to an end as I neared his destination. He was saying that he felt that it was strange trying to reinvent himself at the age of 36. I told him that I was 72, twice his age, and was still reinventing myself. I hope that helped.

Have a feeling that I will see him again. He will probably show up at Wiley’s next door at some point in the not too distant future. It is Island life everyone knows of everyone. But the important thing I think is the lack of random contact that we used to have that we are generally lacking these days. Everyone is separated and hunkered down, just the opposite of pilgrimage. Not much chance for real human contact and the meaningfulness that that can bring.

Yea, it looks like it will be a little cooler today here. That is welcomed.

welcomed loves, Felipé.

A Monday

Part of last evening’s sunset.
(photo P Volker)

The start of a new week here in August, in the year of the pandemic. I almost forgot that last part. Like that is a part of everything we do or say these daze. A sort of brand burned into the hide of everything that is trying to carry on.

Our Catherine had a wonderful comment. It was addressed to Rho as an answer to Rho’s Friday post but you can read it. I‘m moved by her words. They seem on target without being strident, hard but soft, just right. Check it out.

I’m going to be scurrying around the outside of the house today. I got the deck cleaned yesterday now everything else out there looks unkempt, is that a word? Some folks are coming this weekend to the Corntine and need to spiff up. I called a lot of folks from the St. John Vianney’s phone directory. And there are other locals too. Largely these folks don’t read the blog so they need invites. It will be good to get them walking! The temperatures this weekend are going to be in the 70’s, perfect.

My Rebecca and I called one of my old Camino buddies Mary Margaret last night. We carried on for some time catching up. Funny how we reminisced and both had a little tear remembering some Camino moment. May that always be with us.

may that always be with us loves, Felipé.

As The Sun Creeps

The grasses are all brown.
(photo P Volker)

Some of the roses are still calling out!
(photo P Volker)

The sunshine creeps across the landscape for a long time before it gets to shining on our little house tucked in the shadows. When I first was up this morning it was me nowhere to be seen. But it wasn’t long before it touched the tops of the fir trees across the road.

It is supposed to be a hot one today, maybe a record breaker. So we will enjoy the cool of the morning while we can. Catherine will be here shortly to walk and say our rosaries. Then off to church to receive Communion.

When we say the rosary I always try to have an intention. Someone or something is always deserving of help. The people of Iowa are really on my mind lately. The crop damage there estimated to be ten million acres from the straight line winds. I had to translate that into some thing I could understand and I came up with a band sixty miles wide across the whole state. In reality the band is wider and covers central Iowa from the eastern border westward about two thirds of the way across. Praying for Iowa.

Speaking of corn next weekend is our Corntine 🌽 weekend. I made a bunch of phone calls to get the locals stirred up. No Veranda this year but we are doing what we can. It is all very low keyed and distanced. I told folks we would be open Saturday and Sunday 10 to 10. Tapas with toothpicks and maybe a little wine will happen. The walk is always happening and there are blackberries to be picked.

berry loves, Felipé.

Heat Wave

Our corn bread recipe complete with notes, smudges and fingerprints.
(photo P Volker)

Martha and the Vandellas says My Rebecca. She thinks she remembers the sixties. Anyway it is going to be hot today and hotter tomorrow. I think the Seattle record for tomorrow’s date is 96 and it is supposed to be 94 tomorrow. I know that sounds wimpy hot for some of you guys but we are total heat wimps this far north.

Casually Rho our CSWBC asked me what are the dates for next year’s Veranda just like you would ask what the weather will be like tomorrow. Sort of matter of fact like. Really, I’m thinking? Well OK, just in case of a miracle happening and we are all here next year with intact minds at this time how about Friday August 20th – Monday August 23rd. Wowie Zowie!

OK, we got that done what else can we tackle? I might tell you about how the “blog book” is coming. Catalina our Historian is heading up this effort to pare down this blog with it’s 2430 posts into a reasonable length suitable for public consumption. It’s about the 4 C’s: Cancer, Catholicism, Camino and Corn. It’s the story of the backyard camino. It is my story and your story over these years.
And presently we are winnowing down the original text to keep what is important and delete what can be left unsaid. It is a chore. But we get to think about fun stuff too like what the cover should look like and illustrations to include.

Also, next weekend is the Corntine, the shortened version of the Veranda for all my local folks. I have to make a few dozen phone calls to make this happen. It is just a stop by, open house kind of thing. Will have some wine and tapas on hand. If you want to bring some food make it toothpick style so we are all separated. Maybe we will walk a lap every hour on the hour for Saturday and Sunday. I know the original idea was to have corn on the cob for everyone but the crop this year is not up to par and that looks doubtful but blackberries are in full swing and you can UPick. Stop by if you can.

grateful loves, Felipé.

From Rho On Your Friday

Rho on the right with Felipé, Veranda 2019.
(photo Looks like W Hayes)

The Camino of Life

There are times when we begin a journey or adventure and we have some sense of where it will be going. Some details may be clear, others fuzzy, but we begin by taking those very important first steps. There is usually excitement, sometimes a little fear, or a combination of these and other emotions. For me at this time there is a sadness and disappointment for a journey that will not be.

It was almost a year ago that Phil and Rebecca opened their home for the first ever Caminohead Veranda. A four day event which brought people from all over the USA and the world to a small island off the coast of Washington State. It was a celebration and a gathering of all things Camino. You could say it was the first official Caminohead event sponsored by Raven Ranch. Some came for an hour while others stayed the entire 4 days but by the end over 45 people attended and most participated in planned events, field trips, a special viewing of Phil’s Camino and of course spontaneous gatherings of tapas and fire pit talks. There was also the helpful rotations of food prep crews and cooks along with a fresh Phil corn feast each night.

As the gathering began to wind down it became evident that many wanted an encore event. Inquiries were made, details discussed, and dates were determined.

August 21-24, 2020

Many of us etched these dates in our calendars.

These dates are now one week away and sadly none of us ever anticipated an event or situation that could possibly threaten our second beloved Veranda from happening. Yet here we are.

With the exception of a few of Phil’s neighbors who may come by for a smaller corn feast, the rest of us our relegated to our lives at home.

In honor of the second annual Veranda I am asking those who have walked the Camino (or for those of you who haven’t) to share your favorite Camino experience or favorite Camino story in the comments below. If we cannot be together at Raven Ranch this year, let’s join together in spirit and honor the essence of the Veranda here with online camaraderie.


(Thank you Rho. We did have fun! Well, there is always next year! Felipé.x)

When Small Is Big

Two different flowers together.
(photo W Hayes)

Yesterday I tasked myself with fixing the illumination in My Rebecca’s car’s dashboard. I can put up with inconveniences like that personally but it was driving her crazy, no speedometer, no gauges. So yea, I tackled it and it took me all day and fifteen dollars.

Lucky for me there is UTube and I did consult a number of gearhead geniuses. One guy, Ken maybe, that was probably a nice guy really but I wanted to strangle him after listening to his 8 minute demo 9 times. But he did give me the idea that I didn’t need the special Ford tools to do this. That is all I needed to hear because two butter knives, two 16 penny nails and two crochet hooks (different sizes) later I had the “cluster” out and fixed and back in.

Cluster is what they call the unit with all the gauges and electrical gizmos that sits in front of the driver. It is sort of the nerve center, yea brain surgery baby! So the idea of Ken’s demo was that you could take out your cluster and send it in to his company so he could fix it or sell you a new one. Of course the name of his outfit was Cluster Fix which totally cracked me up, like that is what the year 2020 needs a Cluster Fix!

So, here I am with my head in a 2 cubic foot area of the wife’s car. That is all I am thinking about for the whole day. That is my reality, my cluster fix. And Pilgrim Farmer John our CHBC comes along to report on this catastrophe in Iowa, caused by straight line winds. Damage of crops and buildings to the extent of 10 million acres. I just did the math and that amounts to a strip across the entire state of Iowa sixty miles wide! Fortunately John’s farm and property of his children were not in that zone. But that is huge and terrible and on par with all the other stuff this year. They need a Cluster Fix for sure.

I was just struck by the difference in scale. How sometimes we are tiny and sometimes thinking big. Sometimes we are sick and we have a hard time getting outside our own bodies and minds for instance. Or sometimes we gaze on the stars or a newborn and are struck by the potential of it all.

hang tough loves, Felipé.

From Kevan About Carl

Beauty knocks at our door.
(photo P Volker)

Hey, good morning. Excuse me, I have to warm up my coffee, got cold while I got sucked into FaceBook. OK, that’s better.

Kevan is out of England and showed up a few weeks ago commenting on the blog here. He seems a world traveler and overall interesting fellow. He wrote a paragraph about Carl Sagan. At the moment I can’t remember the thread of our conversation but this story is a gem so with his permission I am putting it up today.

“And, as best we can tell, humans are the only conscious beings capable of seeing beauty? Of course the only other beings we’ve ever encountered are on this planet so perhaps our knowledge is a tad limited. Now how does a dog see a waterfall or the Milky Way stretching across the sky? Obviously we can never know. I was reflecting on the strangeness of life a few days ago when I was reading about Carl Sagan, the astronomer and broadcaster,is seems that his grandfather was a human ferry in eastern Europe on the River Bug, I think part of the Austro Hungarian Empire then. He would for a fee piggyback people across the Bug at a shallow spot! Could he, the grandfather, ever have foreseen the plaques designed by his grandson have now exited the solar system on the sides of Pioneer 10 and 11 and Voyager 1 and 2. I had to look up the Bug, it’s the border between Poland, Belarus and the Ukraine and it turns out I’d crossed it 3 times my self but by train(2x Trespol, Poland to/from Brest, Belarus) and bus(x1(I flew in) Lvov, Ukraine to Prezmyel, Poland)no piggyback’s for me!” Kevan from England.

That reminds me so much of one of my favorite stories, Mr Lucky Straw, a Japanese folk tale. We read it to our kids endless times. Anyway here it is for you:

Story of Mr Lucky Straw

lucky loves, Felipé.

A Lot….

A leaf of chard painted by my local friend Will Forrester.
(with permission)

A lot of great comments came in today on yesterday’s blog post. Cris CSABC even went so far as to say that it was “tattooworthy”. I’m not sure who made up that word? Somebody must have because spellcheck isn’t buying it.

Anyway, we were talking about searching for beauty. About how you have to leave a little time in life for this. About how you have to be on the right wavelength. Just some thoughts.

Today, I know a different day. Which direction should we go in? Maybe there is a neglected “C”. Oh, I know. There is Catholicism news. Catalina our Historian here at Caminoheads sent a book for me. That is good as I was temporarily out of reading material. It is The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by James Martin, SJ. SJ stands for the Society of Jesus, a Catholic order, and that is the official name of the group that we all know as the Jesuits. Catalina teaches at the Jesuit Seminary in Berkeley, CA.

The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything.
(photo P Volker)

So, I am familiar with Father Martin because he wrote a book that I raved about several years ago entitled Jesus a Pilgrimage. I was so enthralled with that book. As I remember it covered maybe fifteen or twenty Bible stories that the Father wrote about at the spots in the Holy Land where they happened. In other words it was a “plein air” sort of reporting of the stories we all know and love but with the addition of the wind and the waves and the sand of the locale. Brilliant idea!

So, I am off on the Guide which is a look at St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of SJ and his teachings. It starts out with the concept of finding God in everything which is hey where we are pretty much coming from so we are jump started. And what is not to love about the title? It points to a certain amount of humor that I appreciate.

Well, off I go. Have to catch up on the mowing. I was working on the steering of the riding mower. It could only turn right and not left which wasn’t that handy. But the parts finally came in the mail and got them in yesterday.

holy moly loves, Felipé.

Are We Done Yet?

Plant silhouette on our door. Beautiful, yes?
(photo P Volker)

We have been talking about the role of observing in our search for beauty. That’s good and helpful but other factors are appearing. What about having the time to look. If our noses are constantly to the grindstone we will never see anything different. We have to allow some time. Our schedule can’t be so completely full that there is no room for some serendipity.

That surplus of time was one thing that made the Camino so special. Of course one among many. But there always seemed ample time for everything except maybe when you were trying to beat a rainstorm to town. Relaxing into ample time is such a good place. It seems hard to achieve most hours back home though. Maybe it takes active work to stay in that zone as much as possible. Worth the effort though.

Simplicity plays a role here too. Having a complicated life does not lend itself to having time. Simplicity on the Camino was a hallmark item. Everyone that was walking was in a way simpler place than where they came from. There then was time and place for magic.

That’s it though, leaving time and place for magic. Yea. Beauty is more than an object under the bright lights of a museum. Remember we were saying that it could be thought of or appear as more of a process. It could be an uncovering as something of beauty partially shrouded by fog. To see it might require a more active form of seeing or some waiting or coaxing.

To search for beauty may be more of a commitment than we first thought. It is not just something that randomly happens TO us but more of a journey or vocation. I can remember a practice that I started in Spain of staying with a beautiful scene. Just standing still and looking as long as possible. Disregarding the urge to take a pic, just looking. Being with it to fill one’s tanks.

OK, walk at 9. A beautiful morning, sunny and still cool out there.

filling one’s tanks loves, Felipé.