The four amigos met for breakfast at 7:00 am this morning at a lovely riverside cafe in Nájera. As the group was making moves to go I said I had something to say. Everyone sat down and looked serious. I burst into tears before I could even speak and told them that I would be going on alone. I truthfully told them that each one had been a beautiful gift to me and I was so grateful for their companionship and their friendship. I said that I had been feeling a call to go forward alone as had been my intention in the beginning. There were tears all around but still great understanding and support. We all hope that we will continue to meet and connect as it happens, but we won’t be making plans together. Susan said that she hoped they would be able to meet my Susan after she comes to join me in Sarria.
For the first part of the walk I was feeling a sense of grief, and the universe punctuated it with a brief unforecast rain shower. As I lifted my head to take in the beauty of the morning I felt a kind of expansiveness and anticipation for what the next stage would be.
Staying with my friends would have been so easy. But if I had wanted easy I would not be walking the Camino. I need to listen to my inner voice.
As I walked on I reflected on the role I play in a group. I play the entertainer, perhaps the clown, keeping everyone laughing and bringing happy attention to myself. I don’t intend to stop doing that because it’s a lot of fun and people mostly enjoy it too. But it is a role, and it may be that it sometimes insulates me from the more serious parts of life.
As we walked together out of town, Susan told me that some of the books say the first couple of weeks is the physical Camino, the next couple is the mental Camino as you walk for days over the meseta, the high, dry and desolate plateau. There’s nothing to look at so all you can do is think. The last couple of weeks is the spiritual Camino where the walking happens by itself and the spirit deepens. I have read or heard few accounts of people receiving dramatic spiritual insights, the bolt out of the blue. Rather it seems to happen gradually, but it changes you.
But for now mostly I’m thinking about how my feet or shoulder or knee hurt and looking forward to the end of the day’s journey. That sounds more negative than it is I also spend lots of time appreciating the beauty around me. I’m not sure I’m making great progress on the goal of being more present to my surroundings, but it should be easier in my own.
I’m being helped by my sore shoulder. It feels better if I maintain good posture rather than thrusting my neck forward. When I walk more erectly, lo and behold, I see more of what is arround me.
Today was more rolling hills and many vineyards. There was more harvesting activity, some of it with smaller, older equipment which suggests smaller operations. Perhaps the lack of farmhouses means that farmers live in the nearest village and travel to their fields each day. Maybe it’s not all agribusiness after all.