IT'S MY CAMINO
and if a taxi approached...
I wouldn't take it.
I started out solo today in the dark. It was the first time I'd done this although, in the beginning, I thought I would do it more. Even though I liked the idea of seeing the sun rise and getting to my destination earlier rather than later, I saw the sun set more often than rise.
At the start, today's walk was comical. I hadn't brought a headlamp and was using my phone flashlight to see. I could hear a group of pilgrims behind me, also using my light. Since my phone had limited battery, I would periodically turn it off, guided then by the light of the moon. Once, when I turned it back on, I fixed on the shadow created by my poles. I jumped and let out a scream, imagining an animal or worse coming from the forest; then was happy there was enough distance between me and the group behind not to have embarrassed myself.
The pink of the sunrise increased and I no longer needed my "flashlight". I could see my breath and smell the eucalyptus. It was humid and lush and green. I reached the river where through centuries, pilgrims stopped to bathe before entering Santiago. I pressed on, determined to walk with tired feet one last day.
I stopped to rest at a café to have my usual café con leche, fresh orange juice, and croissant. The distance between me and Santiago decreased, although it was still a long walk to the square where I would look up at the magnificent Cathedral. Soon I would hear the sound of bagpipes as I walked through the archway into the plaza. The traffic increased and the streets narrowed. I could see the spires.
On arrival, I looked for my "tribe", those people who had ebbed and flowed with me along the journey, who like me had experienced challenge, laughter, loneliness, beauty, spirituality, and camaraderie. I'd walked 800 kilometers across northern Spain on my own two feet. I'm not sure about the tribe but I'd do it again...