Belly Of The Whale

Looking for angels these days.
(photo P Volker)

All of a sudden an image appeared to me about our present condition. I mean our condition of being in the midst of this Coronavirus quagmire presently. Are we in the belly of the whale as Jonah was? Are we that guy?

We are mistaken if we think that we can somehow drink or medicate our way through this whole deal. We have work to do or we have something to learn here or understand here that is important. We’ve been dropped in the middle of a maze and the only way forward is to learn the lessons and navigate our way out.

Navigate out or get coughed up on the shore, either way we are not ready yet. There seems plenty more to do, understand, formulate, consider before that graduation occurs. We have to put in the time and effort appropriate to the problem. We are not even asking the right questions yet but we are learning patience in the process.

But life goes on in a truncated sort of manner. Making do with less is in vogue. Going on with plan B or C is getting very familiar. We are learning flexibility. I have this photo image stuck in my head from the Great Depression of the 30’s of this guy that had hitched up his team of horses to the front bumper of his car. He had popped out the windshield, was sitting in the front seat and handling the reins as they come in over the hood of the car. Crazy but there it was.

So, here we go being flexible and patient. We know those two things work. Ah, and then there is discipline. The discipline of social distancing and mask wearing works and we will be doing for a while. Ah, yes.

How do we become cheerful in all this loves, Felipé.

A New Book

Thanks Jim.
(photo P Volker)

Books seem to more a part of my life, my Camino, now in this time of isolation. Some of the flesh and blood people have replaced by literary characters and written ideas. People coming at me in a little different way. My friend Jim from Buffalo sent me a new book a few days ago, Second Mountain by David Brooks. How did he know I was just finishing up William’s book about Nova Scotia?

Brooks’s book is about the point in life where a person starts on a second journey. We think that our life’s journey is climbing that first mountain but things happen. Earthquakes happen, cancer happens, divorce happens, Coronavirus happens. Different people react differently. Some fold on an obstacle and never get to the next phase of life. Some though find new and more satisfying endeavors. That is the Second Mountain to Brooks. My first thought is, “Oh, like running away with the Camino?”

I’m only in it a few pages but recognize thoughts and ideas from my own second mountain experience. There are glimpses and impulses guided not by my own hand but from that higher place where Camino thought comes from. You know, Camino thought. Didn’t we just come up with that new word Caminothink a few days ago.

Yea, we can talk about this more in the future as I get deeper in Second Mountain. Now I am off.

midweek cloudy morning loves, Felipé.

A Neighborhood Notion

Tapestry by William Morris- Tree of Life 1910.

That’s beautiful isn’t it? A friend had it up on FaceBook recently and it has just stuck in my mind. Must be something there for me? I think it has it all, if that is possible.

There was a hymn that we used to sing at Burton Church about God being a weaver and working on the tapestry of life and we could never see the whole thing only our little sensibility or neighborhood. We can only just imagine anything larger much less consider the totality of it all.

I’m happy though gazing at this work by William Morris. My little neighborhood on it could have some nice components. It has interesting color and contrast. It is harmonious. There is a hint of a curve but I’m not sure how far it extends or where it goes in the distance. Hmm.

When I plant my rows I can’t get my string to bend like that. Nice work PFJ.
(photo J Conway)

Just yesterday Pilgrim Farmer John sent in a couple of pics of his corn down in Eastern Iowa. The curve of the rows is pleasant to the eye and part of the texture of our Caminoheads neighborhood even though far away in miles. I think that is how it works?

happy little curve loves, Felipé.

Mother Henning Pays Off

Guardian at the Gate!
(photo P Volker)

Yesterday I walked Phil’s Camino in two different sessions. In the morning with Catherine to catch up and say our rosary and then in the afternoon for the scheduled walk. Somewhere in between those times the little corn shoots shot out of the ground, BANG! And not just one or two but most of them were up. That is nine days from when I first wetted the seed. Praise the Lord! And the sun is out now warming things up so that should get them all breaking out of the soil. A happy Felipé here! Well, OK, we will run with happiness.

And I finished a swell book that William CCBC had sent me for Christmas. I had a flurry of great books come in and it feels good to have made maybe more than a dent in that. It is entitled Guardian at the Gate by Ian Glasgow and signed by Ian. Ian and his two brothers spent a lot of time staying at their Great Uncle’s and Aunt’s farm in Nova Scotia.

Off to talk with Janet in LA and walk the Camino at 9. Can’t wait to go and eyeball the baby corns!

🌽baby corn loves🌽, Felipé.

In Between Showers…

Wisteria holding our house up.
(photo P Volker)

In between showers the light outside has a beautiful quality. It is a pretty morning and I bet that it smells heavenly out there. It’s May and most everything is trying to bloom at once and the air is loaded with fragrance. Nothing is neutral in the atmospheric department around here. Everything is full of invitations.

So what are we, week something or other of the lockdown. I can’t seem to remember anything else. What did we actually do before all this captured us? Before we were the chosen people and now we are refugees in our own land. The need to stay centered and grounded and focused is great. Maybe that is our main work.

I know that writing this blog is one way that grounds me. It is one of the constant heartbeats in my life. The blog is needy and needs constant attention. And so glad that you are here to share this space. It is one of the places of connection for us.

Catherine will be here shortly and time for me to find my rosary. I do miss going to our parish on these Sunday mornings but I also appreciate our pilgrim ability to worship on our own in our own creative ways. God isn’t shut down these days and is most likely more open than “normal”.

More open than “normal” loves, Felipé.

Gray Skies

Maybe July.
(photo W Hayes)

My Rebecca says that I am obsessed with the weather and weather forecasting. It is just thinking like a farmer in my mind. Help me Pilgrim Farmer John. But the weather is an important part of my everyday, could be worse.

Had two Zooms this AM while it sprinkled outside. My Bible Guys at 8 -9:30 and a Cancer Survivorship Group at 9:30 – 11:30. Both were great and I have a lot to digest and think about. It is fun to surround oneself with heavy hitters. Never a dull moment, always a clarification or a new idea to incorporate. Thanks both!

Meanwhile I see where our little island made the NY Times with a story about testing strategies for rural areas. Some of my neighbors, in this case medical folks have come up with some practical plans to deal with the shortage of testing. I shared it on FB. Article title is Remote and Ready… We have an amazing amount of talent around here that has to be coaxed out of the woodwork!

Well, time to move around and “get something done”. Clover to plant, the shop to clean up, stuff like that. Enough Zooming for one day.

Off we go loves into the gray PM, Felipé.

“The love of God creates in us such a oneing that when it is truly seen, no person can separate themselves from another person.”
Julian of Norwich

Ron, Ron, I Got A-Ron! It’s Friday!

The Camino Frances with Astorga pointed out.

Here is our guest blogger for today! Please give him a big hand!


I hope this memory has the ability to tuck a seed into the soil of your life and that you continue “Mother Henning it along.”

I took the hospitalero training offered in the US by the APOC organization before moving to Spain with the thought that I could volunteer. I lived in Virginia and, of course, the training was near San Francisco.

The 19 students and two teachers bonded immediately with Camino glue and began the first exercise. A long roll of brown paper hung horizontally on the wall of the training room with a line representing the path of the Camino Frances. We were all seated in a curved line facing the map as one instructor gave us instructions and the other gave us a red and a green sticky dot.

The instructions were to think of the highest point on our personal Camino during quiet time going over that in your own mind. Do it yourself right now!

I struggled. Everyone did, thinking back to a period full of high points.

The silence was broken by the instructor asking us to think of the lowest point on our Camino. Again, some quiet time.

Silence was broken and the task was to walk up to that paper map, one at a time, and place the green dot where you had the highest point, explain it and then the red dot for the lowest point, explain it. They started from the right, I was thrilled to be number 14. Where did these things happen? I’m not much on geography. Some explained in great detail and some were very brief. There were some tears.

I was close to next. Everyone was nailing it: stuck the green dot, told the story, placed the red dot and explained.

The person to my right walked up and was very brief.
I was next.
I still had no idea.

So I asked for help finding the places. I told them a few things about the place and almost all exclaimed “Agés” in unison. The same for the red dot and they exclaimed “Logroño.” I made it!

No spoilers – take the training to find out the rest!

However, you don’t know the highest point of life when it’s happening, nor the lowest point. I’ve used the hang-nail parable that reminds me that though a hang-nail is really annoying and hard to ignore, it is nothing compared to other conditions like cancer, or even spring allergies. But if all is well except that darn fingernail we can overreact and feel sorry for ourselves.

Think again of the high point of your Camino, and the process that you went through to select just one, and realize that at each of those points along the Way you were really stoked and joyful. The same is true today, be mindful and recognize the high points on your journey, knowing you’re free to squeeze every drop of goodness from them to share with others.

If you are struggling now with the low point and no juice is coming from your effort, keep your eyes up as another high point is ahead. You might get some lemonade from the blessing beside you.

Stick your red dot someplace in memory and then gaze upon the location where you will stick your green dot. Take a moment to fold over an edge of that green dot so that you can peel it up and move it to your next high point.

We wish you joy from Astorga where Spring is showing beauty and creation refreshed all around us. Keep on walking!

Stick Dot Loves,


Eight Words, Eight Days.

Celebrating beauty!
(photo P Volker)

My Rebecca belongs to so many writing groups and singing groups that it is hard for a guy to keep up. But one long lasting and not so regular group writes poetry. They have this one idea about how to have this fun. Members receive eight words and they have eight days to write a poem and then they get together and everyone reads theirs.

Somehow My Rebecca is in on this network and now after a long absence the group called a gathering around these eight words:

dark fear amaze shaking dead world threats answer

So here is what she came up with:


Shall I talk about how we are in a dark time?

Keep track of the world and her dead?

Catalogue the threats contained in our daily lives?

We all know this–it’s all anyone talks about.

I do not want fear to be the answer.

As the great Sufi poet Hafiz said,

“Fear is the cheapest room in the house.”

Let’s not dwell there, okay?

I want the things I see to amaze me.

I want to be overwhelmed with the beauty

Of the world and her people.

I await Nature’s dazzling treasures.

If this is some giant hand

Shaking the tree of the world to shed the old leaves,

I will try to hang on as tight as I can,

And if I cannot, I do not want to waste my last days in fear.

I will rest in the bliss of the quiet moment,

Savor each distant hello!

And try to be grateful for all the myriad blessings

That the world has rained down upon me.

Fondly. Rebecca

So there you have it. Such a beautiful poem from such a grim list, well except “amaze” which it seems carried the weight. I’m impressed, nice work Rebecca.

Finding the wiggle room in hard and dark situations is a talent to appreciate and foster. Let’s have more of that stuff!

let’s have more of that stuff loves, Felipé.


An beautiful Christmas tree ornament that never got put away. Plus wisteria blooming out the window.
(photo P Volker)

“Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the gold.”
Beth a Caminohead and FB friend had this passage from Proverbs (11:27) up today. That was soothing and important for me to hear this morning. So much of our world these days is loaded with not only politics but the worst side of politics. I for one need a break.

Fortunately I have been spending lots of time out in the corn Mother Henning that along so that someday we can slather it with butter. Got some great help. Thank you Patti, Cyndi and Craig for your spirited support. Had to finish up by dark yesterday as I am off to the Institute this AM. But we got all the corn seed tucked in, half Sugar Buns and half Big N’ Tender. And 5 pounds of New Zealand White Clover sown over the top of that, my new experimental weed control. So, the irrigation is all set up and hooked up and ready but for the moment we have some light rain, perfect. Oh, so proud of us! That is a major milestone in the year. Now to wait for the middle of August for the show to begin!

Sorry that I didn’t get a post out for yesterday. It has all been a blur. But this show goes on despite minor glitches and major glitches.
There are now over 2300 posts since the start about this time in 2014. I have been doing some reading of the archives lately. This is to help out Catalina our historian. Things are in the works to compile a condensed version as an inspirational book. We have to run all this gravel through a sluice box and find the nuggets.

Well, time to get ready to go, off to doctor and nurse land at the Institute.

keep on keeping on loves, Felipé.