(photo P Volker)

Today I am off to the Institute to see Nugget. And I will be in the company of Catherine who is driving and Annie my interpreter. Then we will have a chance to spend a few minutes with Danger Zone before departing Seattle.

So, I have a few minutes and I thought maybe I could squeeze a blog post in here before all that starts. So, a full day.

What occurs to me at the moment is that vision of that flower growing and blooming in the crack in the pavement. Or the flowers we tried to grow in the debris along I-5. That flower is what I am feeling like at the moment. To be that long shot. To be the idea of resilience. And I still have this my little flower to communicate for me.

Off we go!

little flower loves, Felipé.

Making It To The Oasis

Smelling the roses.
(photo K Burke)

I’m planning on making the Oasis even if I have to drag myself by my fingernails. And the closer I get the more realistic this seems. I feel the trajectory of getting weaker. But I’m making it to the Oasis.

It’s a shortie today. Annie is about to walk through the door.

oasis loves, Felipé.

Following Cris

Cris, CSABC.
(photo from C Milher)

Thanks Cris for filling in yesterday with the nice blogpost. And I thought that I would kind of answer it because the topic is close to my heart. But before that I want to say that our normal schedules have been totally disrupted by this heat wave. We are at a friend’s now that has a heat pump and the air conditioning included.

I am trying to write this on the road here, very Camino really! Back on the Camino I tried to blog each day which was difficult because of the random WiFi, the new places and just the rough and tumble of it all. Do you remember the rough and the tumble and that is what Cris is pointing to. It was a rock tumbler for sure.

Early on in blog reporting we realized the Camino was a “International Spiritual Bootcamp”. And this is a part of the rough and tumble. It is a process that works. People will have revelations, changes of mind and more as they grind against each other. And there is this strange counter balancing because they all have a common goal. So, they go on learning to live with each other and get closer to Santiago.

On my own particular Camino I quickly saw how people forgave each other. Daily I am visited by random pilgrims. Most times this is fine and pleasurable. But occasionally people bug you. People can start to bug me with the slightest of irregularities. But I say to myself those are only some of the folks here. But as time goes on just about everyone has bothered you. Huh. But I’m personally perfect right, who could I bother? But I have to come to the realization though that I have bothered everyone at one point or another. But generally we forgive and move on but it could easily start conversation.

Time for me to go. Thanks for being here.

counter balancing loves, Felipé.

More about rocks

Cris’s rock in Cruz de Ferro; Sep2014

I thought to take advantage of the cold weather here (right now is 41F) and write on behalf of The Boss who is under the heat wave as if he would be in the tropics. And I will write more about rocks and polishing rocks, and shaping our lives… It seems to me that we have been talking a lot about these topics in the last several days in a way or another. As I read the posts of these last days, an image a man called Ed wrote about the Camino de Santiago came to mind; this is it:

“…you put rocks of different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, some rough, some smoother into a barrel tumbler, turn it on so that the rocks all bump into and rub up against one another and after the process is complete and you take the rocks out each has been transformed into a new, smooth but different and unique thing of beauty.”

For Ed, “the tumble of Camino life” brought him — and all of the pilgrims — up against “joy, suffering, beauty, anger, frustration, depression, peace, chaos, pain, your past, your present, the unknowns of your future, your inevitable death. You just never knew.”

When I read this several years ago, I thought how true and accurate that image was: the Camino shaped us, but what shaped us was not only the walking, but also the time we walked with others “against who we rub up” and the time we walked alone or in silence, but the idea that we were in a pilgrimage with others also was present for us “to rub up against”. The whole experience shaped us, polished our rough edges, rekindled our colors and transformed us in something more beautiful for sure, although we don’t know exactly what and how that means, but what we do know is that once a pilgrim, you are forever a pilgrim, and that means too that the experience of the “barrel tumbler” continues. Ed wrote too:

What the pilgrimage will be in the end, what it will hold, and what it will reveal to us,” they concluded, “remains a mystery as does so much in life.”

Sharon Salzberg, the very famous meditation teacher wrote:

“In a way, every day feels like a journey into the unknown, with the attendant possibilities of danger, defeat, and lost moorings. I try to remind myself, every day, that I can reframe this time as a time of pilgrimage, with attendant possibilities of profound companionship, unexpected strengths, and transformation.”

And I was thinking of the unknown music that Al, Phil, Wiley and Rebecca listened when looking at those rocks, and I thought also of the work that Al and Wiley will do into the “unknown-ness” of them, and I couldn’t help but thinking what those rocks “will reveal to us”. What I am sure is that this time continues to be “a time of pilgrimage, with attendant possibilities of profound companionship, unexpected strengths, and transformation.”

Rub Loves,


Choosing A Rock

Two pieces at the yard.
(photo W Volker)
In our truck.
(photo W Volker)
Felipé, Al and Rebecca.
(photo W Volker)

Well, actually it was two rocks that we carted out of there in the end, couldn’t stop at one. We were off, myself My Rebecca, Wiley and our old friend Al to visit the local rock source and pick out some raw material for a headstone for me. Al went to the same high school as My Rebecca a few years ago in Memphis TN and wound up here on the same island. So, we are old friends and we were off on an adventure yesterday.

And we looked at rocks, big rocks and small, gray and brown, fat and skinny, humorous and somber, singing and silent. Al spotted it first and saw the vision as only an artist can. There is was singing away and near it another. Then I caught the fever and then Wiley and Rebecca. We all saw and heard it.

There is this type of rock in the West called basalt and it is of volcanic origin. It is familiar to us in in it’s appearance as columns. They are tall and in number form cliffs and bluffs. Maybe it would be easier to say that if you looked closely at a cliff or edge of a bluff you would see that it is made of these columns. Yea and when a column is broken the end surface is concave. These ends are like little dishes.

We all saw that those little dishes were going to hold rain that we are known for. That vision of interplay sold us. That was the song it was singing and that Al heard first. So working with the parameters the cemetery gave us it looked like there was room for two so…

Al has the knowhow to do the grinding, polishing and sandblasting that are required. Plus he has the equipment and personality to physically deal with moving them around. So, our team is on it’s own, we can take it from here. And the other good new’s is that Wiley gets to help and hang out with Uncle Al to lend a hand.

Well, that was Friday and heat was a factor. And today it continues a few degrees warmer. I am trying to do next to nothing and have been pretty successful so far today. I think we have this through Monday or Tuesday.

anyway loves, Felipé.

Ryck In From The East Coast

President Grant, General Grant on the ponch writing his memoir.
(photo from R Thompson)

July 23, 1885 was the day President/General Ulysses Grant died at Mount McGregor in Upstate New York. Before he died, his family was heavily in debt due mainly to a “Ponzi” scheme and poor investments. In order to clear the debt and to give his family financial freedom, he decided to write his memoirs. Mark Twain offered to be his publisher and together his memoirs would sell like crazy and in the end his family would be taken care of.
I took my kids to see Mount McGregor a few years back. I needed to see the place that Grant stayed while he wrote his memoirs. It is atop a little mountain and overlooks the expansive valley below near Saratoga Springs in NY. They chose to go to Mt. McGregor to escape the summer heat in NYC/NJ in 1885. The air was cooler up there, easier to breathe…less people there as well. There is an old photograph of Grant sitting in a wicker-styled chair with his back against the wall outside on the porch area. He is wearing a knitted cap, blanket over his lap and he has a pencil in his hand and the booklet he is writing in. I have viewed and reviewed this picture a thousand times. For whatever reason, I had to go there in person. I had to see the chair he sat in. I had to see the house he was in. I had to feel the atmosphere, the sounds, and digest the views. So, one day a few years back I did just that. My kids and I drove up the 3 hours from Binghamton, NY to “Grant’s cottage” in Wilton, NY. I saw his actual chair, sat in a replica with my own back up against the same porch wall he was against. I imagined the view that he saw, the cool air that he breathed. I imagined how much he had to overcome to write this memoir, but he did what needed to be done. It turned out to be magnificent in every regard.
We are all writing our own memoirs, I believe. Every post we write for Phil’s blog, every Facebook post we put out, every letter we write, it is our memoir. I remember asking Phil one day, “Well, Phil are you going to write a book?”. “The blog is my book”, he said. It made perfect sense to me.
I posted on Facebook not long after that as I continued to read horrible political banter…vitriol…that if people knew that everything they posted one day would be made into a book and that book made of posts would represent our lives, would they continue posting some of the things they posted?
In the Navy, the daily routine is written in what is called, “The Plan of the Day”, or P.O.D. Currently, my P.O.D. is Phil’s daily blog posts. Although I don’t respond to each post, like you all I am sure, I read everyone. In fact, I feel my day is not complete without reading what Phil is putting out for us to understand. I get an alert on my iPhone whenever Phil puts out his post. It is consistently the best part of my day. I am feeling like crap, “PING!” a post, I am feeling great, “PING!” a post, I am stressed with life, happy with life, tired, travelling, in a meeting….”PING!” It’s another post from Phil and you know what, I am better now……


Weather Wealthy

Corn creeping up to knee high.
(photo J Meiklejohn)

Just counting weather we are loaded around here. Blue sky, heat.
Although Sunday and Monday could be over a 100 F which is unheard of around here. So will be pumping water on the corn and me keeping in the shade.

Jen has the whole Three Sisters plot all planted. There are beans and squash added to the basic corn plants. So, that takes up one corner of the corn, 5×5 hills. I gave her the OK for this experiment. We will see what happens? We are always trying new approaches.

A good friend of ours volunteered to produce a headstone for me. This is so cool. We are going tomorrow to pick out a rock to use, Wiley included. Wiley is going to help on the project with grinding and polishing.

I am going to go. Anon.

polishing loves, Felipé.

Moving Ahead

Jen planting the Three Sisters.
(photo J Meiklejohn)

May be more like Crashing Along at times, maybe Crawling Along. The trail is rough with occasional boulder which has rolling down to block up the road. But we continue on with a much slower pace of course.

We had a walk yesterday afternoon and tapas afterward. Then before Jim and Jen were here working on the corn. More specifically Jen is taking over one small corner of the corn to do the “Three Sisters”. That is an Indian technique of planted corn, beans and squash together. It’s all experimental here with Jen’s corner.

I started a herbal treatment yesterday as an addition to my standard treatment. Took it right before bed and now I am maybe feeling more tired than usual. It would be good,for,me to sign off for now.

occasional boulder of loves, Felipé.

A Stormy Tuesday

Roses, smelly ones.
(photo P Volker)

Maybe read some of the Comments lately. There are storms around and psychic storms around. Dreams abound. We have need to be steady, to remain balanced in our groove.

Kevan from England in opening his comment says, “The Universe is poetry, the mind of God?”. He is very steady and he always exposes me to a magnification of our conversation that causes me to temporarily wobble but it is an educational wobble. I straighten out and am the better for it.

Then there is Pilgrim Farmer John’s comment. Read all of it but just a few lines here, “The dream theme (you like that? I thought so.) has infected the lot of us as well. My Cathy had to physically shake me awake last night as I was in the “fight or flight” mode of an unexplainable dream.” Wow, we got drama!

I don’t know what this is all pointing to but there seems to be general unrest, general turbulence. Maybe there are changing alliances and amplifications around. It seems we all have to get reacquainted after this pandemic. We all seem strange to each other. I am not saying that about our relationships here in the neighborhood as we have been communicating the whole while but out in the world.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for giving me the neighborhood to hang out in. Thank you for reminding us what’s important. Maybe just a general thank you.

amplification loves, Felipé.

News From Around

Sherif on the right in Cairo with his Dad.
(photo from S Tamim El Naggar)

There is Sherif our Caminoheads Egypt Bureau Chief. He was our constant companion on the Camino in 2014. I am always trying to pry more pics out of him as he is a wonderful photographer.

And there was news from Ron our Caminoheads Spain Bureau Chief. A tornado went through the Astorga area several days ago. Here is his report:

“We are fine, and from what I can see and have heard in the news only some roof tiles and some trees were damaged.

It has been a few days of these ‘tormentas’ (thunder storms) that would be really unpleasant to be walking in, but we see pilgrims out there every day.”

We are thankful that damage seems minimal and that everyone is OK. These kind of phenomenon are so fickle, you never know. Those pilgrims out there will have stories to tell!

Out walking this morning and there is sex in the air. It is hard to go anywhere and not have this or that fragrance of the blooms of the day. Bees are abuzzing too which follows. The blackberries, hawthorn and roses are seas of blooms. It is all happening out there.

Well, off I go. Have energy work with Janet and then lettering up the last of the bandanas. Busy, busy.

abuzzing loves, Felipé.

Dad’s Day kebabs at the beach.
(photo R Graves)