Always Great To Have You

Isn’t this the help with auto problems gnome?

Just clearing my mind of all the details that pile up like snow drifts. It’s a fight to get to some clear space to operate from. Well, first of all I need to be grateful and then things usually work themselves out given a little time and quiet.

We have a wedding this afternoon to go to. Island friends in the cast and crew on that. Another wedding you say? Yes, we just had one but can you really have too many.

Looks like I have to go. My Rebecca has a flat tire and that has to be solved here in short order. Yup, a few too many details. See you soon, auto repair loves, Felipe.

TGIF September 14th

Another great flower from our buddy William in Calgary.

So many things in the news near and far it just seems comforting to have a weekend in the offing. Maybe things will calm down for a bit and we can take a deep breath. We are supposed to have a dinner later with friends coming over, always enjoyable. We are going to try and get one more meal out of the sweet corn.

I have been getting some great comments lately from you all. The comments really make this blog for without them I would just be howling in the night. Having your ideas come in is so important to me. They get folded into the dough here that turns into tomorrow’s bread. Steve-O our long time friend sent this one in and I would like to give it to you here:

“I am often reminded of the Barrigan Brothers. Of Niebuhr. Of Schindler. Carl Rogers and Martin Buber. Many others, the famous and the obscure; all taking principled and conscience-driven stands and living their beliefs on behalf of the well-being of others.
Examples. Examples in a long line of courageous people of faith and principle that do good, know and embrace their callings, and knowing their unique aptitudes for giving where they can best make their own contributions. Those reflections inform my understanding of the tasks that are most important, understandings that are most helpful, wisdom that must be sought in times as turbulent and fraught as the times we live in now.
A community of others who are seeking and striving towards these goals, with similar aspirations for doing good – it seems to me that therein lies the comfort and therein lies the strength and therein lies the sustenance that we all need to experience an everyday joyfulness. Caminoheads– the blog and all of you, surely contribute to my experience of growth and everyday joy.”

Well, so there! How about that? Maybe we deserve a raise, right? OK, let’s keep on doing what we have started then. It seems to be working in it’s own little way in the very midst of the turmoil around us.

I am glimpsing some blue sky here out the window here at the hospital. Yea, it is brightening up! The best to you there where you are, buoyed up loves, Felipe.

The Storm Is Blowing In, We Left

Something calm from William in Calgary.

The forecast of this monster storm headed for the Carolina Coast is bringing back all sorts of memories for me. I was there in 1968 when a massive system came through. About thirty of us Marines and all our fancy radio gear were being loaded aboard ship to leave Morehead City, NC with a destination of San Juan, PR. We left in a hurry to get out of the port and out to sea.

Ships are safer at sea in bad weather than in harbors were the wind and surge can raise havoc in the confined space, literally stacking things the way that was never intended. So, we left quickly, and cleared land safely but lost a lot of government property off the deck because it wasn’t chained down to meet the conditions.

So, we were aboard an LST or LSD which are similar flat bottomed ships made to get up to a beach so they don’t need a dock to unload. The major disadvantage is that this shallow draft makes them very unstable and squirrelly in the blue water. And this we the Marines on board found out not being experienced sailors. We were scared to death and we wound up after three days 300 miles north of where we started; we were headed south remember.

But we made it to Puerto Rico after that and we spent the winter there in the warm, a good trade off to the harrowing opening experience. I never put this together but in 1975 I was sailing out of Hilo, HI with a destination of San Francisco, CA. And something very similar happened but in a warm and sunny way. We left the harbor a couple of days before a tsunami came in to land and devastated the harbor. We were out to sea and sailing northeast toward the Horse Latitudes and the massive when surge passed right under us and we never felt it one bit. We were wrapped in our protective blanket of good karma is maybe how we expressed our luck.

But there maybe is a lesson here somewhere about facing our personal “storms”.
We are not always safest in the safe places. Sometimes we have to get clear of things that trap or confine us and just wing it to the best of our ability. Yes, let me mull this over.

Well, walking in a moment and then archery lessons. I hope I haven’t been too off topic with that but it just “blew” in on me so to speak, a memory storm.
40 knot loves, Felipe.

We’re Washing The Forks

Burton Community Church here in this view..

That’s My Rebecca. Yes OK, we’re washing the forks, no plastic ones. This is the weekend of the 125th anniversary party for her church Burton Community. In the church kitchen there are probably a hundred forks maybe two hundred, good solid metal ones. So we are going old school and skipping the landfill forks. Yes, I’m with you and that is what they were doing one hundred and twenty five years ago and it still makes sense, right.

We lost a couple of houses in a fire here yesterday. I think no one was hurt although I don’t know any of the details. One was once owned by a friend of ours that is no longer with us either is why I am mentioning it. That was years ago that she owned it and that we had hung out there back in the day as they say. Anyway, I find myself grieving, sort of the end of an era thing.

Well, as long as I am on the Island news have to give you the corn report. We are down to the bitter end here at Raven Ranch with this year’s sweet corn. It lasted four going on five weeks this year which is good. We never did get the stand set up out on the road to sell any but it all has been taken care of one way or another. Pilgrim Farmer John would be proud of us for the whole process.

I’m excited about getting a winter garden planted this year which I have never done before. We have this little warm micro environment where we have grown a couple of summer’s worth of tomatoes that I want to experiment with. I am about ready to buy some spinach and green onion seed to make that happen.

This is all you need to know about things local I guess. Still have the same walking schedule till the time changes. And I will be missing a few days in October and November because of trips. Will post those soon. OK, for now loves, Felipe.

PS – Oh, but Cris in Buenos Aires is reporting that Pilgrim Farmer John’s Iowan swallows are starting to show up down there as the seasons change.

This Day

A sea of candles at Lourdes. Part of the slow process of healing.

September 11th today. We could all do without this day I know. At least we could all do without the the sadness of this day and for sure and the downright evil displayed on this day. But beside all that it would be good to remember the heroes of the day. The many that ran to the trouble to help out.

Someone remarked once that it seems that evil can be accomplished in a flash but good usually takes years. There is something to that. We are still knocked back on our heels by all that happened that day in 2001. But something like the good of Mother Teresa for instance seems glacial in comparison.

I think that I will leave things right here for now with that thought. This has given me an idea about where the blog might go tomorrow but let’s just sit with our thoughts today this September 11th.

And prayers for healing would be most important. In spite of outbreaks of evil we defiantly say life remains alperfect. We keep on, love, Felipe.

Getting Some Rain

The Corn Mother by Cristina Perez.

The process of Fall is happening here. Rain is starting to show up to green up our situation. Summer was fun while it lasted, as always. The corn is about played out. The apple and pears are coming on. BLT’s on the menu with the fresh tomatoes. We lead a garden centric life here apparently.

We had a bunch of pilgrims yesterday for the walk and tapas who were really fun. It was Jeannie and her flight attendant friends who fly in once a year for a reunion. So Phil’s Camino was on their agenda this year. And they left with two dozen ears of Golden Jubilee corn to remember us by.

And Phil’s Camino the trail goes on into the Fall with a few rainy days here and there. But that is easily compensated for by the colors. The fog starts coming in too which adds a certain spookiness and sense of mystery. Gone is the strict clarity and surety of the summer months. Ah and mushrooms sprouting up hither and yon.

Yup, hither and yon, that’s us. My Rebecca is here filling me in on news. One thing is that her church, Burton Community, is having it’s 125th anniversary celebration this coming weekend. There will be a special service featuring a lot of special music and slide show. Catered lunch also and that all begins at 11 AM on Sunday.

Well, time to find the right footwear for the walk this morning, wet grass situation out there, been a while. All good all the time, wet grass loves, Felipe.

Blue Sky, Light Winds

Lourdes, France from our pilgrimage in May.

Beautiful day today. Just got back from tailgating with Catherine after early Mass. We talked about the new revelations of sexual abuse in the Church. This is all being talked about left, right and center. I can tell it weighs heavier on her than it does on me. Fortunately she is headed off to England with Dana to walk Dales’s Way and maybe that will get her mind off of it. I don’t know too much about the trek, what it looks like or it’s purpose but she promised to fill us in.

I know that this blog is supposed to be about the 3 C’s: Cancer, Catholicism and Camino but somehow Catholicism gets pushed to the back burner often. Well maybe that will change. I really never know day to day the direction of this ship of a blog. Sometimes it goes this way and sometime that.

But people ask me why I converted must often. That is the main question I get on this topic of religion. And I usually play the cancer card at that point saying that I really needed spiritual help from a church that has depth and resources. I needed to lean on something. And I did lean on it and continue to.

That is a very practical reason and true but there is more to the story. Just for now I might mention the quest for comfort. I sensed that I would find comfort in the Catholic Church and I have. Mother Mary is the font of comfort and I am learning how to open myself up to that, to her.

And there is more but I want to think about it a little. Time to go for now.
Hopefully will find time to work on my truck and get some air and sun today.

Yours through thick and thin, love, Felipe.

Maybe Our Job Is To Find Humor In It

Finding humor in our walk. Padre Tomas is good at that. He is not in this pic, I don’t think but could be.

Reading Gilda has been good for me. Parts of the book are tedious and seem to go on forever and parts are wonderfully easy. I hate to attempt to critique it here, that’s not my job but the overarching feeling of the book is uplifting. She was such a warrior in her own way.

I am not quite done with the book and am at that point where I don’t really want it to end. But I seem to be reaping benefit from it with just being around it/her. This morning for instance I had an enlightened moment when I randomly recalled an awkward moment in my past. Normally just recalling something like that would mean me becoming regretful. But somehow this morning it seemed the funniest thing I had ever heard. It seems so freeing to be able to find humor in my own mistakes. Like watching a Marx Brother version of my auto biography and laughing my butt off. Thanks Gilda.

Her job in this world was to find humor in things no matter what. What a challenge to find humor in the cancer camino. But it is there and worth the
effort to find not only for ourselves but also for others. It is a solvent for the fear, isolation and uncertainty which are heaped high on our plates. It is a break from the worry, or the guilt or the anger or what the hell ever. It is priceless I’m saying. Thanks Gilda.

It’s sort of all good all of the time even when we are armpit deep in horrible. That looks impossible but it isn’t. That may look improbable and yes that could be. But we may have not been put here to do just the easy stuff.

OK, I will read on and finish it up. And most of all thanks Gilda. See you tomorrow loves, Felipe.

St James The Ambassador

Could place this sign on Phil’s Camino.

Jim, your California friend, sent in a comment on yesterday’s post. He points out something important. In all our talk about the Camino, the Camino this and the Camino that over the years, we have to place the whole thing in context. The Camino as we know it is a result of the placement of St James’s earthly remains. And that is a result of his death in Jerusalem. And that is a result of his trouble making peaching of the Way of Jesus. And the Way of St James is the Way of Jesus is the important linkup.

In an era when we run from organizations and authority and overbearing rules and regs this linkup remains. The simple Way remains with or without the establishment. Hospitality in its many forms, in its biggest sense remains.

This is Jim’s (Diego’s) comment and my response:

¡Hola Felipe!

Beautiful exercise and message this morning! Hospitality really is not only “The Way of Saint James”…but The Way, The Truth and The Life as taught by Jesus to James and all of the apostles. They followed Our Lord’s living example of feeding and healing as He walked His Way while on this planet. James brought that hospitality to the Iberian Peninsula for us, peregrinos, to study, learn and share with everyone…everywhere…especially on Vashon Island at Ravens Ranch!

¡Dios te bendiga Felipe!

Diego ~ always good to hear from you friend. Thanks for your perspective on this. I always seem to link hospitality to a facility. You know, I offer my home. Welcome to our albergue. I never considered Jesus’s miracles a form of hospitality. To give from the heart is the key, right? He certainly never had a facility of any sort. I will have to stretch my thinking. Felipe.

Well, that’s it for today. Always good to see you. Fellow traveler loves, Felipe.

Talking Hospitality

A full table yesterday for tapas. Hospitality along Phil’s Camino.

I know this is hard and it takes a long time to distill but if you were to put your Camino experience into one word what would it be? Mine is hospitality and has been that for a long while now. It is in the great big definition of the word. It is in, “The Camino Provides”. It is is one of my things that I say to people wanting to go, “don’t overplan, just fall into its arms”. I have heard that the King of Spain pays some of the pilgrim doctor bills along the Way. It’s in that!

The word goes back to Old French and back farther to Latin. The Knights Hospitaler are credited with opening the first hospitals to care for beat up pilgrims on the original Jerusalem pilgrimage. These knights remain today in the Order of Malta who took me to Lourdes this past May. They sort of invented the word and are still living by it.

I can’t help but think that it is the Golden Rule in practice, in practical application. It is a practice, a discipline. It is giving in a world that mostly takes. This is one of the big lessons that the Camino has left me with. There are others but this to me is my key to loving my fellow man, an important part of the big picture.

Time to go. Ten minutes to the Thursday morning walk, just enough time to get organized. Tereating each other right loves, Felipe.