(Our moon is waning gibbous, 79% illumination)
(photo R Angert)
Expectations are funny creations – molded and polished in our minds and played out often in our sight, hearing, and touch, even our sense of smell. They may have been hatched by an event in a dream, a song lyric, or a comment overheard while standing in line. And now-a-days they are often germinated from others’ expectations posted on-line.
But expectations supply the foundations for plans and plans lead to action, reaction, and reasoning. Expectations are easy for some of us to achieve and seemingly impossible for others of us. How many times do we under-estimate our abilities, the external conditions, the phrase uttered by another or the quality of those expensive hiking socks? And the opposite: over-estimating those same things?
For so many of us the Camino provides a lab environment for testing Expectations. Just how long is a ‘long day’ for me today? And for that other guy, the one who reminds you of your grandfather? How long was his day? How DID he beat you to the albergue?
The pilgrims walking the camino these days have some different challenges. Living in Astorga we meet and speak to pilgrims often and I thought I’d share one experiences Ann and I had recently.
Meet Ross. He is from Australia and earned the chef position on a large private yacht recently completed in northern Europe. He was involved in the food storage and prep area planning and construction and its maiden voyage was to Malaga where he was given ten weeks off before meeting the ship again in the Caribbean. At least that is what I recall from our café con leche conversation. He is used to living out of a backpack and thought that the Camino was a perfect use of his time. He began his walk in León and stayed in a hotel for three days when the city was in isolation – no pilgrims allowed to stop or eat there, but could walk through. He enjoyed seeing the town and eating at restaurants unaware of the lockdown which he was amazed to find out about after leaving León. Because of Galician weather and shutdowns in the days since he jumped on a bus to Portugal and is walking there.
I’d guess he had some expectations that varied from a sail from Europe to the Caribbean, that varied from the things he’d read about walking the Camino and more. It is this shaping of the expectation that brings pleasure to some of us and distress to others. Often it includes both, don’t you think?
So what of our expectations these days? Phil is expecting to ‘get an elk’ and enjoy that special time tracking them down with old friends and Wiley as I recall. All of us are preparing for some kind of different holiday season, wondering how that will play out. Many are shaping expectations for this time of year that traditionally includes people, places, and things that might just be impossible now. I’d like to suggest that you let your senses give you hope, your dreams give you new inspiration and that the people you do meet while enjoying coffee add to your lifes’ story and to theirs. Pilgrim, walk the Camino wherever you are.
Ron Angert in beautiful Astorga, Spain