October 2: A good day physically. About 21 km and Saskatchewan flat. Our party is now three, Astaria, Julie and me. I mentioned Julie from Thailand yesterday who walked with us most of the day. It’s funny how these things happen. There has been no discussion about whether we should travel together, it just happened implicitly. We found each other’s company so pleasant and interesting that we just started to hang out. It was the same with Susan and Gordon.
Astaria and I have laughed about how we tried to break up but just keep finding ourselves together. What has changed is that we have an explicit agreement that we will walk in solitude for the majority of each day. Once we reach our destination, we have no real need for solitude and crave community. Tomorrow I will initiate that conversation with Julie to make sure we are in agreement. It has become very clear to me that the real riches of the Camino come to me when I have time alone without distractions.
Astaria is feeling a bit under the weather and may take a bus tomorrow on to the next destination. It’s a longer walk tomorrow, about 24 km or so. My tendinitis is still present but much better today and it didn’t get worse toward the end of the day as before. I hope it will be gone soon. I will send it healing thoughts and energies before I sleep.
We walk through some beautiful areas and some ugly areas. We meet people who are friendly and radiant and people who are taciturn. We stay in places that are clean and dirty, welcoming and cold. I have been struck by how different traveling companions are quick to label these different realities with words like nice, not nice, horrible, beautiful, ugly, etc. and how reluctant I am to engage in this kind of classification. It seems that in this stage of my life, my task is to be open to all of it. When we walk through an ugly industrial area, I have to remember that these kinds of places provide good employment and are needed to produce the kinds of things I use in everyday life. While it is not beautiful, it is necessary.
The same goes with people. I mentioned yesterday the “albergue nazis” that ran the place we stayed last night. At least the place was very clean, which I like. We talked some about how it is that these people, who didn’t appear to like peregrinos very much, could have found this way of making a living. We wondered if they couldn’t find something else to do that would make them happier. We also wondered what life experiences might have made them this way.
One of the quotes from the Hospital of the Soul was something like “When you judge another, you don’t have time to learn to love him.”
Tonight we are in the Franciscan Monastery of Santa Clara. We know her as St. Clair and she was a close associate of St. Francis of Asisi. The nuns are still here in full habit and the place is very clean and has good energy. Very different in feel from last night.
No wifi so no pictures. I’ll add some later after I find a connection. (A side note: Astaria thought it was hilarious that the Spanish pronounce it “wiffy.” When I didn’t understand her mirth, She explained that “wiffy” or perhaps “whiffy” in Britain means a bit smelly. Perhaps it comes from “get a whiff of that!”)