October 10: Today was more difficult with lots of stony, steep and long downhill sections, not to mention rain that was not forecast. We left Rabanal about 7:35 and didn’t get to our current albergue until about 6:00, our latest arrival in many days. On the other hand we’re back in the mountains and the scenery is gorgeous.
The body has no weakness that the Camino won’t bring attention to. Last night my mattress was extra firm and whenever I lay on my side for very long that hip would hurt. This is not a new problem. We bought a new bed in part to solve it. I try not to sleep on my back because I snore. This morning my left hip was quite sore and it took a long time to work itself loose. After finishing our walk, resting and sitting at dinner the soreness has come back. It’s not debilitating but neither is it pleasant.
Julie, the yogi, tells me that the majority of adults have some degree of misalignment of their hips, which explains the long waiting lists for hip replacements. But she says the problem is easily correctable if you find a knowledgeable practitioner, whether massage therapist or physio or what have you. It has gotten me thinking that I should look into this when I get home.
Another thing I have noticed on the Camino is that each morning my hips complain a bit before settling into the day’s walking. I thought it was the walking that was causing that but now I’m wondering if it is caused by what happens when I’m sleeping. I guess I’m back to the physical Camino again. I’ve taken an anti-inflammatory tonight and will take another in the morning and see what happens. I was pleased that I was no longer taking any medications.
Yesterday I was telling Julie about how the Christian/biblical story forms the major lens through which I view the world. For example, when we saw a beautiful, huge rainbow this morning I said that it was a sign of God’s promise never to destroy the world again (from the story of the great flood). It gives me a sense of rootedness and identity. This was in the context of a discussion about how much my beliefs have in common with some people of other faiths or no faith.
Today this got me thinking of a related matter. My good friend, Brian Ayotte, carved a small cross for me to take on the Camino. I treasured the gift and the love that I knew lay behind it. I had chosen not to wear it on the outside of my back because I was afraid that in seeing it people would make assumptions about what it signified and put me in a box much too small for me to fit in. But after yesterday’s conversation and today’s reflections, I have hung the cross proudly on the back of my pack. Thank you, Brian.
We passed the highest point of the Camino today. At the top there is a small metal cross on top of a tall pole. Pilgrims often bring a small stone from home to place at the foot. Brian had also given me just such a stone and I placed it there as I reflected on my original intentions and the sweep of the journey so far.
My parents left a comment on yesterday’s post, asking a perceptive question. Am I getting the amount of solitude that I had wanted in the beginning? The answer is yes and no. It’s not as much as I imagined in the beginning but I think it’s enough. I walk a significant part of each day alone and then whoever my current companions are join me for breaks and part of the walk. The balance of solitude, silent walking together and conversation (not to mention singing and generally “cutting up”) seems to be working for me. When I was under the weather I just liked the companionship because it made the time and distance go faster.