Up until Sarria a couple of days ago I haven’t seen very many peregrinos as ancient as I am. Usually I see folks 50 and under and most often in the 20 - 40 range. Most of the grey haired crowd go out in early September and are usually finished well before the end of October. So this has been a different Camino in more than one way.
After dodging puddles for about an hour and a half I met a very young Aron from New Mexico coming down the highway. He’d taken the short cut and missed all the trails, and the mud. We walked on together for a while until Melida where we shared a plate of pulpo at a well known shop. Talk about fresh cooked! The octopus is chopped up, put on a wooden plate and paprika and salt are sprinkled on top. Best eaten hot.
We went our separate ways and I looked around the Sunday morning market on my way through town.
As I walked along I was thinking about several things, particularly the beauty of the Galician pathes. This is the sixth time I’ve walked in Galicia in the past five years and rain or sun, the pathways are always beautiful.
Ha! I just looked and Annemarie did remember to write a piece for today.
SA Greater Purpose: Poor weather for walking has been Geoff’s experience more often than not lately. This morning Geoff looked out the window and saw yet another downpour. He wrote me a message saying “I’m staying in bed”. Of course he didn’t. Whether or not Kathy’s words, “get up, get out and just do it” are playing in his head, it is the greater purpose of this walk - his commitment and sense of responsibility - that gets him out. Sometimes the day will bring surprising joys; a picturesque view, an interesting encounter, or a good story. Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s face a similar challenge; days they know will be tough, but that they need to get through due to their commitment and responsibility for someone they love. For them too, there may be bright spots in the day, or there may not be. For Geoff as he gets closer to Santiago there is some comfort in knowing each step is bringing him to his final destination and the comfort of home. Caregivers face these tough days without knowing how long their journey is.
Tomorrow I hope to complete this portion of our “purposeful” walk. It’s unlike any walk I’ve ever before undertaken because I’ve come to really understand that while this walk has helped me to sort of deal with my own grief for Kathy’s situation (at least I hope it has) it’s also been a walk committed to something other than myself. I know Annemarie feels the same way. So I think I have enough left in my spindly legs, two expanded lungs and a big heart to complete something that has been a labour of love for both Annemarie and myself this past year. Of course on this journey Santiago was only ever a way point on our long road, and I’ll travel home shortly afterwards to continue our project. It’s become very personal.