A Quiet Morning, Just A Little Breeze

We can’t feel all alone.


It’s a new morn, my slate is clean, nothing comes to mind.  What if one day I couldn’t write the blog because I had nothing to say?  Is that happening today?   No, that little breeze will blow in an idea.

Ah, there it is.  As I travel around with the film I get a chance to get up in front of folks and send my insights their way.  One of the things that is a challenge for me in this process is trying to keep my talk light and positive and funny.  After dealing with my and other people’s cancer for five years I had to get to a place that was sustainable.  The topic is so heavy and laced with so much fear and dread that no one can be in that place for long and survive.  I needed sort of a halfway house to exist in, to live out of.

So developing a way that was workable but not glib became a goal.  It was hard to strike a balance and one of the keys is to openly acknowledge those that are having a hard time with their cancer.  I feel totally blessed that my walk is so what?  It isn’t easy but it is doable, there is a pathway forward.  And it is especially important to acknowledge the young people and their families that are so challenged with their cancer.

In that vein, I have to introduce you to Suzanne, one of my nurses extraordinaire.  She is like the Clark Kent of my world.  Oncology nurse by day, project fund riser by night.  I really have not met many people in my life with that kind of devotion and dedication.  She is the main driving force behind Ladybug House, a dream for tomorrow.

Ladybug House is modeled after facilities elsewhere. There is nothing like this in our region though.  It would provide a place where a young person fighting cancer could both have treatment and have a life.  It isn’t a hospital, it is more homey than that.  It isn’t a hospice, although it may at times function as one.  It is a place of community where these challenged youths can be as much like who they are supposed to be as possible.   There is nothing like it in our immediate experience so it is not easy to describe but a nurse who has worked with literally thousand of cancer patients can see it.   This is Ladybug House in Suzanne’s imagination.   She has been working on this for something like twenty years but so many connections have to be made, so much treasure has to be found for it to become a reality.

I have no time or money myself and all I can do really is be her friend and put in a good word for her.   We are all in the trenches of our lives in one way or another.  Being there for each other is important and always appreciated.  We ar Caminoheads are here for you Suzanne!

Off I go, being here for each other loves, Felipe.



The Cupboard Was Bare

Cornbread made in an iron skillet, still warm.


We were out of bread this morning and first thing I made a batch of cornbread.  I noticed that the date on the package of corn meal was ’14.  This is our meal that we make from our corn and that package was from the crop that is in the film.  Nice.  This goodness that I am enjoying, that will fuel me, is in that shot of the corn with Wiley and me picking.

The film, what a lovely and powerful instrument.  I am so close to it and have seen it so many times that I don’t appreciate it as the audience does perhaps.   But  it travels on to places that I will never get to and to be seen by people I will never meet.  It is all an interesting phenomenon.

Anyway, I look at the land were we will grow the corn this year and wonder how the spring will go.  Last year was so early.  This year I don’t know.  One thing I do know is that I need to foil the deer and raccoons and the weeds.  Those three claimed about half of the crop last year.  New plans are developing.

I have two archery classes to teach and a walk to walk today.  Have to work on the yearly firewood gathering inbetween those.  Pretty busy these days.  But have to take time for tapas later of course.

I got an email from the local zen center inviting me to come and speak to them in April.  Yes, of course, how can I say no.  People hungry to talk about things of the spirit it seems.  Well, we do that big time, right?

OK, time to get ready for class.  Thanks for walking with me this morning.  Couldn’t do it without you and what fun would it be anyway?  Corny loves, Felipe.


First day-O-Spring!

Dave and I on Phil’s Camino last fall.


Wow, no joke, spring has sprung.  Hope you are in as good a mood as I am about this whole thing.  I am looking forward to soon drying out and limbering up my cramped body.

Just had a great walk.  Catherine and Dana showed up to join Dave Owens and myself.  Dave is from Santiago de Compostela Church in Forest Park, CA.  They put on a Camino every year around St. James feast day,  They are walking Saturday July 22 and I am going down for that event.  And he wants me to show Phil’s Camino the night before at a dinner.  So, on the road again for Felipe.  Maybe you can join us if you are in the neighborhood.  Details I am sure will be up on church website.

Thanks for checking in today.  Monday and happy about our week getting started.  Lovin you and yours, Felipe.x



Here at Raven Ranch in the sunshine!


This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoince and be glad in it.  That’s a quote from the Hebrew Bible that just  jumped into my head.  So beautiful!  And this the very very last day of winter, the winter of ‘16-‘17. Woo Hoo!

Catherine and I had a get together at the Episcopal Church with a group that was interested in pilgrimage.  I’m glad that I asked her to come with me.  It was a good and rewarding time for everyone.  What could be better than talking about pilgrimage, shoot we could have gone all day and all night.  And I am always mindful of how this blog helps me out, us out in keeping this stuff at the tip of our tongues.

And that QandA today was the last in this flurry of five engagements in the last two weeks.  I don’t know if I am bragging or complaining on that but it sure feels like my life is full these days.   We are out there being joyful and explaining some of the finer points. What could be better, I’m happy!

Right now I am going to say how much I love you and do come back.  I am going to get outside and dive into this glorious sunshine.  Walk at 1600, then tapas!

Thanks so much for being with us today, everyday loves, Felipe.

All Clear

A soggy daffodil on Saturday.


Yes, the ferrets and the leprechauns have departed to do mischief  elsewhere.  It seemed to me like a really crazy day yesterday,  glad we are back to normal here.  Only so much of that excitement a guy can handle.

Catherine and I are off to the Episcopal Church tomorrow to lead a group in talking about pilgrimage.  Apparently they didn’t get enough the last time I was there.  I think Kelly and Rebecca went with me and now have talked Catherine into going.  They will have great questions to chew on.

And that will end the latest flurry of engagements for Felipe.  Geez five in two weeks.  I am getting my act pretty sharpened up with all this.  In some respects  I find myself back to where I started a few years ago.   Being at one of these question and answer sessions is more about presence than about relaying information.  How I react and zero in on a person’s specific concern is more important to me than my answer really.  Information is in surplus these days,  just Google it.  But being able to just be with someone is rare and appreciated.

Off to finish my taxes today.  Man, what a nasty chore but the light is at the end of the tunnel.   Yup, glad this is a once a year deal.  Glad it is rainy so I can concentrate.

And you, have a good day.  Spring is coming on this Monday, something to look forward to.    See you, love, Felipe.




Lost Ferret, $500 Reward

Gray skies in Seattle.


Some days are like that.  It must be St Patty’s, there are leprechauns crawling all over my day like some kind of Irish Federico Fellini movie.  Not that I am complaining mind you.

How can French roast coffee with two half and halfs in it taste like coconut.  See what I mean?  Mother Mary seems the only one being straight with me today.  But I’ll be keep my eye on her.

Speaking of her I am reading “Regina Coeli” – Art and Essays on the Blessed Virgin Mary by Father Michael Morris.  It was a gift from Our Catalina, our art historian.  Lucky me.  I might be the most beautiful book that I have ever had in my hands.  In my mind there is nothing that compares with Christian art.  Regina Coeli translated from the Latin means Heaven’s Queen.

I remember vividly sitting in dark classrooms watching art history slides and being some impressed and mesmerized by Christian art.  What were those artists on anyway?  I want to be one of those guys when I grow up.

Well, I have a late lunch date after my treatment and then back to the ranch for a big St Patty’s Day corned beef and cabbage feed.  Catherine y Dana, Wiley y Hanna and My Rebecca will be there.  Mr Guinness will probably show up.

See you tomorrow, greenish loves, Felipe.

Camino Buddies

Camino buddies after finishing the 909th lap!


In the December 2016 edition of National Geographic there was a fascinating acticle entitled “The Healing Powerof Faith”.  It was largely about placebos, healers, shrines and the power of the group.  How expectations can influence our health and ability to fight pain.   At the very end of the article the author started writing about pilgrimage and I’d like to quote some of it.

“Nowhere is the power of group belief more evident than in religious pilgrimage…”

This was about the religious pilgrimage to the healing place Altötting, Germany:

“Everyone is here for their own reasons, but they are all here for each other just as much,” said Marcus Bruner, a cheery priest and 27 year veteran of the walk.  ” The group carries you, and you carry the group all together.”


Here are some email communcations between Commando Bill, one of my cancer buddies, and myself.  We live here on Vashon, we travel to Swedish Hospital for treatment and we walk together at Phil’s Camino.  We have known each other for at least a year and have been through some serious ups and downs.  And we have figured some stuff out.

BILL – Watching The Way … it’s long, that’s good. The juxtiposition of the disparate personalities so randomly thrust together holding on to each other like magnetic poles rejecting each other … takes one in.

It’s only a story, made up, yet it has an engrossing feeling to it. We don’t choose the way, it takes us.

I hear there is another story about a fellow on Vashon. I will watch that one tomorrow morning.

PHIL – Thanks Bill for being with us today, a merry band we are. Off to the big city tomorrow. I have to go get some sleep.  ( He was with us for the 909th lap that day after getting back here from his treatment.  And then I am off to treatment the next day.)

BILL – Hope it goes well. I feel pretty good tonight. I need sleep to. Great get together!!!

PHIL – At the mine.  ( I’m at the Treatment Center the next day and feeling sorry for myself.)

BILL – strike gold, buddy, all those nice people there  (See that how he turned the mine, a place of drudgery in my mind,  to a place of possibility with just a few well chosen words.   As the priest said, “Everyone is here for their own reasons, but they are all here for each other just as much.”)

Yup, for each other loves, Phil/Felipe.





Wear Your Rubber Boots!

A crowed selfie at Phil’s Camino


If you by chance are coming to Phil’s Camino in the next month wear your rubber boots. Or if you come anywhere near the Great Pacific Northwest wear your rubber boots.  It is crazy wet and we are supposed to see the sun til Sunday.  That seems appropriate.

Dispite that we were out there in the elements yesterday to finish our second walk across Spain.  We had seven walkers and three big Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs tearing up the trail.  Yea, the end of 909 laps, seems impossible sometimes.  Of course then we had to have tapas and wine to wash those down.

What strikes me is the realization how much effort goes into a Camino walk that last forty days.  That is the time the average walker does it in.  Compare that to six months for the first Phil’s Camino here and a year and a half for the second.  I am just blown away when I think about how much we did in Spain in such a short period.  But what we do here is good, it is appropriate.

So please come by when you get a chance.  You probably need a break from doing your taxes about now, right?  Rubber boot loves, Felipe.

Celebration Time!

Italian dinner in San Francisco with friends new and old.


This PM the Phil’s Camino gang will be at the Cathedral of St James having completed 909 laps of Vashon countryside.  Could it be so?  Catherine y Dana will be here, back from all their social engagements.  Commando Bill will be here after all day chemo.  I’ll try and get Rick and Kelly.

Wiley said recently, “What’s next?”.   Well we thought that walking out to the Spanish coast and back would be good.  I didn’t have a chance to do that in 2014 when I was there.  But we will do it in the backyard like always.  In my hand is the Brierley “Camino Finisterre” so we can’t get too lost.   So come join us.  We will do this on our same schedule.  Remember now that afternoon walks start at 4 PM for six months.

Also, coming up this summer is a one day Camino at the Santiago de Compostela Catholic Church in Lake Forest, CA.  I finally made up my mind to try and do that.  It is on my bad chemo weekend but will figure it out.  That is July 22.  This will be a chance to see Southern Cal friends and catch up.   So, put that on your calendar.

I have to go here quickly as Quick Rick will be here momentarily.  We are moving the cabinets from the wood shop down to church with his delivery truck.   Oh boy, should be fun.  Alright, have a good day there,  Santiago loves, Felipe.