October 17: Wow, it’s hard to believe this is day 30! A whole month just walking, walking, walking. 683 km down and 68 to go. Four days to Santiago. Hoards of people, mostly Spanish speaking, so little conversation. I find myself lamenting the loss of community feeling that I experienced before. It’s like moving from a small town where everyone says hello to a big city where few people do. However, it is what it is. I still recognize no one from previous days’ walking.
It was cloudy with bits of rain this morning then opened up to sunny skies and warm temperatures, but with a fresh breeze. After some initial complaining from my right hip, my feet and legs settled into a nice, easy rhythm.
Susan was not quite so fortunate – not surprising since her body is where mine was a month ago. After the pain yesterday in her Achilles’ tendon she was uncertain whether to walk at all or to take a bus/taxi to our pension here in Palas de Rei. But she decided to give it a try.
She actually did very well and her tendinitis was better than yesterday. But with about seven km to go her calves were so sore and tired that she decided to call a cab. Unfortunately, my cell phone stopped working (long story about cell phone service in a foreign language) so I was unable to call for anything. By the time we got to a café where we could ask for one to be called, we only had two km to go. But we did it anyway.
Susan is hoping for a miracle of healing to happen overnight. Her calf muscles are incredibly bound up due both to the unaccustomed walking and compensating for her heel issues. We’ll see how it goes. I did massage them before bed. I feel sorry for her and others who are walking only for the week, because they won’t get to the point where it becomes easier.
I was massaging my own feet back at the pension and realized that the skin on my soles was like some combination of leather and parchment. Maybe now I could walk on a pebbly beach without wincing, which I’ve never been able to do. You folk who have done the Camino more than once, is the break-in stage easier the second time?
But enough of that. This blog is entitled Making Connections, which is the title I chose when I first started it in 2012. That is how my brain works – scanning for connections between things that might not seem related at first glance.
So today I was thinking about what I wrote a day or two ago about the role of suffering in growth and my own natural disposition to push pain and suffering out of my awareness. I also thought about Richard Rohr’s quote from Jung about the unconscious role of art. I have found myself lately humming or singing Leonard Cohen songs as I walk, and it occurred to me that the reason I am drawn to his music is that it it brings together the light and the dark and integrates them into one. There is both love and loss, humour and pain.
For example, his song Hallelulia brings home the point that even in the midst of pain, lost love or loss of a kingdom, a Hallelulia is possible. In verse two, conflating the stories of David and Samson, he writes,
She tied you to the kitchen chair,
She broke your throne, she cut your hair,
And from your lips she drew the Hallelulia.
Love is not a victory march,
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelulia.
This is an incredibly popular song and I wonder how many people (including me) are fully aware of what it is saying. Or is it like other great art that “just works.” I also,wonder to what extent listening to and singing these songs has contributed to my own unconscious healing or integration over the years, given that they represent both the conscious and repressed side of the Seven, my Enneagram type (see Day 26 for more on this).
A shorter day tomorrow. I’m looking forward to Santiago.