We Have Liftoff!

Along the trail.
(photo K Burke)

That was it, yesterday late afternoon, our first official tapas. The sun was warm and the seats were dry and it was just like old times except we were pretty out of shape. But we were all happy with the proceedings.

Henriette was here and she had brought some good food and drink. And Cathy and Tim were here and they brought some goodies. And we had some things to contribute and like any good tapa situation it was a potluck.
Like an impromptu picnic along the side of the Camino with whomever was around, everyone would contribute what they had.

I just had a crazy memory from Spain. This was during the time before Burgos walking with Gracie. When we were on pavement or more primitive road I would pick up nails and screws that were potential flat tires for someone. One time I picked up three potatoes that had fallen off a truck. I carried them for a few days thinking they might come in handy. Probably pulled them out for a few impromptu picnics and we joked about them. We finally planted them in the soil along the road somewhere.

Ok, time to move on. Maybe I’ll get some pics from yesterday and I will get them to you.

springtime loves, Felipé.

A Little Ditty From Ryck CECBC

I have patiently been waiting for the Ken Burns, “Hemingway” documentary for a long, long time. It has been in the works for 7 years. I am sure, being Ken Burns, it will not disappoint. As I continue to wait until the 5th of April for its official release, my focus lately has been on my property grounds, garden, yard work, plants, hammocks in between tress, lots of gravel, topsoil, Motrin….
The birds are elevating their pitch and their singing is getting more and more involved every morning.
Have to get those hummingbird feeders out..
One thing I have noticed about the birds here on the East Coast compared to living in Washington State is that they are much smaller and brighter and multitudes of color. Like a box of crayons in the trees.
This is the year of the Cicada. Once in I think 14 or 17 years, they converge upon this area with deafening chirping. Good times. I will drown them out with my John Deere, have no fear..
The pandemic is lifting quickly here in the DMV (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia). Life has been ferociously roaring back in Washington, D.C. The traffic is back. The crowds are getting bigger again. The pause of life, the great reset of the pandemic is rapidly being replaced with normalcy. What I am curious about, however, is normalcy good? Where we overly worked, anxious, stressed, pissed off over nothing, tired before the pandemic? Will we appreciate more of life, or will we fall right back into the same trap of, now-now-now, go-go-go…..
One thing I actually enjoyed about the pandemic….less people. Less crowds. Much more quiet. Less traffic. Less pollution the traffic brings. Less middle fingers out windows because someone got cut-off. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am wanting life to come back, for sure, but I tell you what, there was something special about needing reservations ahead of time to go and see my beloved Smithsonian Museums, feeling like the whole place was open just for me…I would walk down many hallways and the only people I would see were the occasional security guards with their mask on….bored..just the way I like it. Felt like, “Night at the Museum”.
OK, I got the first shot, getting second next week (thank you Veteran’s Administration). I am eager like everyone else to jump back into life, but with my mind on how there was actually some good that came when we all had no choice but to sit back, take a serious chill pill and just watch the birds….

God Willing, First Tapas Tomorrow!

Tapas coming at ya.
(photo P Volker)

There is a headline! We have two different parties coming from two different directions. Henriette from the north and Tim and Cathy from the east.

How long has it been? Well, I am not exactly sure but we shut down last March for visitors til some time in May. And March being the end of that winter it could go back four or five more months through that winter. It has been a long time to say the least.

It is such a relief to be vaccinated and have others in the same state. We can get together get in small groups. And here we are being on the verge of tapas. Or should I write, TAPAS!!

But that is tomorrow. Right now I am off to do our morning walk. It is frosty out there but the sun is shining.

long time loves, Felipé.

For Being So Tiny…

Terry Hershey and Felipé, September 2020.
(photo N Pendergast)

For being so tiny they sure pack a punch. Plus they always make me smile. Not a huge face shifting smile but that little barely perceivable smile that is just an acknowledgment that things are still OK and on track in my locale.

If someone were to ask me what is the very best piece of cancer fighting gear around I would have a ready answer. But I am not a doctor and am never asked that kind of question. Not my purview I guess. But if the day comes, I would say a hummingbird. With some right outside the patient’s window, readily available. Feeders will bring them in.

They are little beings so tiny and seemingly fragile yet so capable and agile. They seem at once insignificant and at the same time possessing a one up on the rest of us on the playing field. And they have their own worries and dramas that are fun to try and unravel. They are hardly little robots the way insects are. They are very entertaining.

And when a person is dealing with pain, anxiety and depression to name a few demons, a different reality is refreshing and important in getting outside one’s own worries which can easily be self consuming.

Of course, I am lucky that hummingbirds exist here where I am and even all winter which is crazy. Maybe they are not everywhere which is too bad. But maybe I am partial to hummers and maybe other critters would provide similiar benefit. PFJ has cardinals in Iowa that come to his feeders right outside his window.

Anyway, having some easy conduit to nature and an aspect of it that is lively and involving is potent medicine. I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, so good there it is. Catherine will be here shortly. We will say a rosary for Jim who had that tractor accident yesterday.

little capable and agile loves, Felipé.

Just When You Are Thinking…

Sometimes slow and steady.
(photo W Hayes)

Just when you are thinking you are having a bad day you hear about someone else’s. We had some tragedy strike, not with us but close.
Our son Wiley’s father-in-law got into trouble yesterday and our daughter-in-law witnessed it. Jim was working on one of his tractors in the yard at his home and the thing broke free, rolled and ran over him. He has been hospitalized with broken pelvis and maybe broken ribs. Kind of a crazy deal but stuff happens.

So, we are regrouping. Jim is awake and groggy and they should operate soon to put some pins in. So prayers please.

I am loosing steam here right now. Have to go and take care of things.

be safe loves, Felipé.

Don’t Stop Before…

Looks like an arrow to me.
(photo R Angert)

Susan, one of our avid Caminoheads, had put up a comment recently with a quote from a sign on the Meseta. Or was it graffiti? It said, “Don’t stop before the miracle.” That is so doubley Camino, isn’t it? Man we all need to take that in!

I do feel like this year and some of the pandemic has been like walking across the Meseta. It was so exposed. If you want to talk rain, yes it would have too much rain. If you wanted to talk wind, yes it had too much wind. If you talk sun, yes. If you talk loneliness, yes. Blisters as always, yes. Towns and water were far apart.

“Don’t stop before the miracle.” Reading that and being able to take it in would make all the difference to a worn out pilgrim. Get another ten steps, another five kilometers. Get to shade.

And now we have similar tiredness, similiar everything except the blisters maybe. We need to hang on and keep going like we know how. Yes?

keep it up loves, Felipé.

Well OK

The leaves coming out on the weeping willow tree.
(photo P Volker)

Wow, see the stuff I have to follow? Just so you don’t miss the “rest of the story” check out Pilgrim Farmer John’s comment today giving us more. It is a very remarkable this saga. And PFJ could garner some sort of journalism award for this if he can continue to keep out of trouble.

Things slowly trudging toward Spring here. Life full of small town stuff, one thing after another in this neck of the woods. Speaking of woods last evening a branch fell off the cherry tree, the one up over the tapas table and crashed down on the house in the wind. It woke me up out of a sleep and My Rebecca rushed in thinking I had fallen out of bed. It turned out to be more noise than anything which I am so grateful for. Just an example of the thrills and chills around here.

Off to do the Thursday morning walk here. Jen and Jim and Kodi dog are coming maybe. Later I am going to try and get some work done. I’ve been on light duty for ages now.

miss you loves, Felipé.


Rhubarb awakening.
(photo P Volker)

My Rebecca found this wonderful report from Farmer John way before I got to read it. He is Mr Be at the Right Place at the Right Time. I am just going to put up his words here. Can’t do any better than this!

Hola, Felipe!
We’re having just the best of times on our vacation in the southwest. The Camino Convergence coalesced here in the Vortex of Arizona today. There had been a Camino hint here and there earlier in the day, and I had just sat down here at the keyboard to respond to your post today when Russ (husband of Cathy’s sister Bev, who you met in Dubuque) required my immediate departure to lunch. Timing, as they say, is everything, for just as we were walking into the Patagonia restaurant, a man was “saddling up” to leave with his substantial backpack. And, prominently displayed on the pack was his Camino Shell! Weeellllll, we all know that can’t be ignored! My “Buen Camino” was heartily returned, and the conversation took off like a rocket. “Hob”, A true gentleman in our age bracket, along with his wife, Deb, were about midway along on the Arizona Trail and had stopped in Patagonia for supplies. They have trod many of the variants of the Camino de Santiago, SEVENTEEN of them to be precise! That in itself was mind blowing, but as it turns out, that was just the wonderful start of the conversation.

He was informed twenty odd years ago that he had stage four cancer and should find a way to enjoy himself as he “got his affairs in order” for his predicted last six months of life. His doctor suggested that he should look into some “meaningful” journey, and, knowing his Catholic background, had mentioned The Camino de Santiago. What the Hell, he added, the Pilgrimage was begun by people in search of miracles 🙂 His first “Camino Family” drew into its folds a Polish Priest who left no church door unopened on their Way so that daily Masses were de rigueur. What a great story that is, eh Felipe?!! He has fully embraced your credo of “Just Keep on Walking”. They have walked both the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail now. The Arizona Trail itself is nearly 800 miles. And, the Miracle did, in fact, happen, as his cancer has been stable and non-advancing since that first Camino. How wonderful is this thing we are all so Blessed to be a part of!!

on the road with Pilgrim Farmer John CHBC.

Trying To Be Patient

March pretty.
(photo P Volker)

It is getting harder and harder for me to be still waiting for my latest muscle pull to heal up. I am prone to coughing lately from my lung issues. I am doing better at controlling it but still am open to pulling a muscle in my rib cage. Have one now that I am trying to nurse along so it will knit together. But I grow impatient.

Fortunately I have a good book to work on that Catalina had sent a while back. And fortunately I can read again. During the height of the pandemic somehow reading wasn’t possible, too scattered. But now with my vaccinations I seem more able. Anyway it is a book about history, of course from Catalina, a novel about building a medieval cathedral. It’s entitled The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

But in the meantime the sky is blue and I would love to get out for a few minutes to get something done around the ranch. After lunch I will give it a try, gently. Have a walk later too and the birds need feeding.

Oh look, there is a woodpecker at the top of the power pole drumming away. That is a Springtime deal for sure. I don’t know if that is establishing territory or if it has to do with mating, I’ll have to ask him.

catch you later loves, Felipé.

It Went Well

Burton Community Church, Burton Washington.
(photo KJ Windmeyer)

It went well yesterday with the sermon. I’m not quite sure it was a sermon but maybe my version of one. But it went over great and I spent a long time afterward during what is known as “coffee hour” answering questions. A few of those folks my actually be called to walk the Camino in the future, who knows. Or a few will meet a pilgrim “fresh back” and realize why they are so crazy eyed and take the time to listen as they gush for hours.

There were two stories that were told of Camino people that two members of the congregation had met at some point in the past that had left an impression. This is interesting and important that we leave an impression. People will remember your testimony for years too.

One story that was told about a woman that had lost two members of her family, like her husband and her son, I don’t remember but two major loses. She was called to the Camino and went and it changed her life and she recovered and blossomed.

The other was told by this woman who had gone to teach massage in China. In the class was a Chinese woman who had walked the Camino twice. She was taking the class so she could go back and minister to pilgrims along the trail. Pretty cool.

So, I just wanted to report on yesterday. Off today to walk in a moment.

Monday loves, Felipé.