Coldest Night Yet

Frost still in the shade.

It is supposed to warm up from here on in. There is some moisture coming which might mean snow before this is over. But our new little woodstove is huffing and puffing along keeping us warm.

Turkey soup is in the making. I’ve got the broth made and the fat skimmed. Now comes the fun part. It is pretty easy to spread Thanksgiving out for at least a week with different variations on leftovers. Turkey doesn’t get much attention the rest of the year so we have to do it all in one week I guess.

Maryka came over yesterday with her new husband, Anthony. It was great to see them. And we had time to walk the Camino and shoot some arrows. Well, and we did drink up a bottle of wine and got caught up on happenings too of course.

So, Advent starts tomorrow or actually this evening here at the Saturday Night Vigil Service. There is a lighting of the Christmas manger scene outside to start the season. Wow, here we are. Ready, one, two, three, PANIC! Well, I suppose there is still a little time before that.

Time to get in gear here. Even with the holidays there is stuff to get done around the ranch. Still raking up leaves for instance.

Lighting our loves, Felipé.

The Day After

On Phil’s Camino we are walking toward Muxia.

My Rebecca and I went with Wiley and Henna to her parents’ place, close by here on the Island. We felt so welcomed. They want us to come back for Christmas. Well OK!

It is supposed to be a sunny day today once the day wakes up. It still looks a little hazy. Couple of things going on today. One to make turkey soup. We made it out the door with the carcass of the bird last night so we have this job. And Maryka is coming over which deserves it’s own paragraph.

Maryka grew up here and now is married and lives in NYC and does work for the UN. That sounds very impressive and it is. We have done a lot of walking here at Phil’s Camino and archery too. So that’s what she wants to do during her visit. In 2014 she and her father Rick walked with me and the film crew from the monastery at Samos to Santiago and that is on the documentary. Such a fun and challenging time!

So she just called in and we will get together this afternoon. That’s good, it will have a chance to warm up out there. OK.

We continue to think about our many gifts that add up to our lives. How do we account for our luck? How do we see and keep in mind that we are the recipients of so much goodness?

The best to you where you are. Off we go.

turkey soup loves, Felipé.

The Day

Not a turkey but a moose from William.

Just a big Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. It is certainly shaping up to be a big deal around here. So, we are grateful.

I successfully cleared all the hurtles on my trip to the Institute yesterday. I had good conversations with my contacts there. I even found a little financial aid from the hospital to cover parking and some groceries. They are interested in me gaining weight.

Have to relate to you this little story about the stop to get my new driver’s license. It is a little bit of a process to sort through documents and answer questions, eye test, photo and etc for the enhanced version. This very delightful African-American woman was waiting on me. I mention that because it sort of flavors what I am going to say next. So, we got to the photo part and she said to take my hat off and she goes, “Ou, I love your hair; I’m going to chase you around!” That cracked me up so bad! Hey, when you got it, flaunt it, right?

This morning on FaceBook there was a wonderful piece by David Whyte put up by one of my nurses and I want to share it:


is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without and beside us. Gratitude is not necessarily something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a-priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life.

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things must come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously, part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.

To see the full miraculous essentiality of the color blue is to be grateful with no necessity for a word of thanks. To see fully, the beauty of a daughter’s face across the table, of a son’s outline against the mountains, is to be fully grateful without having to seek a God to thank him. To sit among friends and strangers, hearing many voices, strange opinions; to intuit even stranger inner lives beneath calm surface lives, to inhabit many worlds at once in this world, to be a someone amongst all other someones, and therefore to make a conversation without saying a word, is to deepen our sense of presence and therefore our natural sense of thankfulness that everything happens both with us and without us, that we are participants and witness all at once.

Thankfulness finds its full measure in generosity of presence, both through participation and witness. We sit at the table as part of every other person’s world while making our own world without will or effort, this is what is extraordinary and gifted, this is the essence of gratefulness, seeing to the heart of privilege.

Thanksgiving happens when our sense of presence meets all other presences. Being unappreciative might mean we are simply not paying attention.


In CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press 2015.

So, a big Happy Thanksgiving!

lots of gravy loves, Felipé.

Gratitude Season

Turkey humor

Debra’s Blogpost

I’m at the Institute with a little free time till I see the Doc. The sun is brilliant and streaming in through the windows. The nurses are scurrying around on their appointed errands. Patients are busy on their phones and fighting with the coffee machine.

Got into town early and ran through the Department of Licensing office and captured my Enhanced Drivers License with the Veteran notation on it. That was a chore really coming up with all the right documentation. Who would that guy be tht would want to sneak in and try and be me anyway?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving so that is the important thing. We got an invite to go with Wiley and Henna to the in-laws for dinner. My Rebecca making her world famous cornbread dressing. We just got done processing and packaging all the died corn from harvest. Even Yankee me has switched over to loving the Southern dressing.

Oh, and the funeral yesterday went well. I think all the Bible Guys and half the wives showed up to pay respects. We were all happy that we all were there, you know what I mean?

Well, Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers. Hope we have a few minutes here and there to contemplate on the topic. It is so easy to take things, a lot of things, for granted.

corny loves, Felipé.

Chock Full

This is a pic taken by Kelly my beloved pilgrimage partner in Spain. It is my favorite maybe because it sees the landscape from the view point of the “inner” pilgrim. Thanks Kelly.

I am still lingering in my mind with the conversation that I had with the audience on Saturday. I know that my words are incomplete or the thoughts behind them are incomplete or I’m not exactly sure of some major point. Buenos Aires Cris is listening to me lately and writes this comment:

Hi Phil,

Yes, I think I have come to realize that no matter what, there are two ways to do the Camino: and inner way, that is a pilgrimage, and an outer way that is a hike. And neither of them is better than the other, they are just different and people may be ready to do one and not the other. A hike requires a pretty healthy body, a lot of physical resources, is fueled by calories coming from fat storage, and is more successful when you have the right equipment and gear. While, a pilgrimage requires vulnerability and an awareness of the frailty of our hearts, is fueled by pains, hurts that we carry, doubts, etc., and is more successful when you carry the very basics. In a hike, the experience is the best when you are prepared. In a pilgrimage the experience is the best when you are unprepared for what you may encounter. In the hike, you do better when you are an “expert”, in the pilgrimage, when you are beginner.

This maybe why people who have faced adversity in life arrive to Santiago’s Cathedral after covering by foot 500 miles and their lives are transformed.

Likewise, may this is why those who have the tailored backpack and the right gore-tex clothing and carry the perfect weight and the right getting-to-the end mind-set, hike 500 miles from France to a town in Galicia called Santiago de Compostela.

Just a thought; as I know there was no way I could have hiked to Santiago.
Pilgrims Love,

There is a major divide there between the hike and the pilgrimage. They seem miles apart. When I talk of the Camino in any way it is always about pilgrimage, end of story. And when I falter with an audience it is because I may be talking one thing and they another. I see that now. And I have been messing with this for a long time and I am just realizing this?

Thank you Cris for you have shined a light on the fork in the road. One way is about performance and the other about vulnerability. When I try and go back in time to remember how I thought about this back then it might be: “I am buying this new pack and new shoes so that I can perform well enough to have the experience.” In other words, the experience (the pilgrimage) is the foremost idea.

Somewhere in the talk the other evening I mentioned that there are people that walk the Camino with no money. That sort of stopped the show for a while. These pilgrims trust so much the idea that the Camino will take care of them that they can undertake this. I am very impressed by someone who would even consider doing this. It is really thin ice, being very vulnerable, very trusting.

Food for thought as they say. And time for me to go. A funeral later today in Seattle.

vulnerable loves, Felipé.

The Day After Burlap Underwear

Earl’s gear.
Grandma Gatewood

The point is a lot of great things were accomplished with way less than great gear. If we put things off till we get the latest “gee wiz” stuff, that is a mistake. Advertising is saturated with all kinds of over-engineered gear these days. We begin to think that stuff equals success.

Half of success is technique if half is gear. Development of technique may take time and effort but zero money. This is working smarter, the phrase that we have all heard.

I love the pic of Grandma Gatewood next to the Appalachian Trail sign with the burlap sack on her shoulder. No backpack just a sack, pretty funky. In the 1960’s I had the opportunity to hang out with Earl Schaffer the man credited with walking the AT for the first time in it’s entirety. Then he hiked twice more, once when he was seventy something. All his gear was army surplus when I knew him.

I copied him of course. Boots with no socks, modified Korean War era pack, poncho shelter. He ate dried soups which he would boil up with corn meal in it. I am trying to remember details. A guy like that could survive on pure technique and maybe a knife. “We don’t need no stinking gear!”

He is probably a major reason why I am in the Pacific Northwest. He had hiked here in the Cascade Mountains and had fallen in love with it although his home was Pennsylvania. He raved about it. And I see that he died there in the East in 2002.

Anyway, maybe I am just old school but think about it. Things don’t have to be perfect for you to start. “Just do it” as they say.

don’t hesitate loves, Felipé.

More About Burlap Underwear

We have a lot to learn.

There is a Seahawks game on this morning and just back from Mass so I am going to blog away with the sound off hoping to accomplish two things at once. Catherine is coming over to join me watching at halftime. So, onward.

Last evening My Rebecca and I went to a “slide show” on the Camino by author Cathy Fulton. She walked the Norté as part of a trek around the world. Very impressive, her story. So I got invited to add something where I could. It was so hard to keep my two cents to a dull roar.

I was telling this to Catherine this morning as we drove back from Mass and she wanted me to write about it. Cathy the speaker and myself were the only ones who had done the Way and there were a dozen folks in the small audience. It always strikes me the divide that becomes apparent between the two groups no matter where it happens to be.

The folks who haven’t gone ask lots of questions about equipment, facilities, communications and routine. I probably left some categories out. But regardless the questions center around the engineering of the journey. And this is where I always have to bring up the “fact” that the original guys did this walk in burlap underwear. There seems to be something important to me about this. Just trying to steer rookies away from these physical concerns.

The interesting point here is that veterans barely talk of these concerns. They talk about all the community stuff, the spiritual stuff, the beauty encountered. They talk about emotional stuff. They mention cafe con leche. They talk about snoring and friendship. Everyone has a getting lost story.

See what I am getting at? They are world’s apart. Not that I didn’t have rookie concerns beforehand, I did. But I did realize that there was the inner journey to prep for, to expedite.

OK, Seahawks 10 Eagles 3, second quarter. It’s not like I am beating up on rookies, just saying that they generally really don’t know what they are in for.

Sunday loves, Felipé.

Big Week Coming Up

Here turkey turkey.

I got a nice haircut this morning to look good for the week ahead. Massively big week coming up for Phil. Tuesday is the funeral for our dear beloved David, founder of our Bible Guys group. He had many ties in business and law in the Seattle area. There are going to be hundreds of folks there.

Wednesday I have a day at the Institute with Dr Gold, also beloved by the way. How many years has he kept me alive, he better be beloved. So, the salon will happen there which is my favorite part. Then before that I have a few hours so I was going to try and get my Enhanced Driver’s License, the one to make air travel easier. So, it’s a whole day.

Then Thursday is the big American Turkey Day. We just got a big invite to our daughter-in-laws’s parent’s home. Yea, sounds good. Maybe some football squeezed in there or charades perhaps.

So a lot to do and a lot to contemplate too. How about Cris’s post on Friday? That was terrific. We have so much talent hanging around here I tell ya.

Well, here I am trying to get this done and we have a social engagement lurking within the hour. It’s a tapas party with a slide show of an Islander’s Camino trip. Ok, let’s check that out!

Off we go, social butterflies R Us.

stay wonderful my friends, Felipé.