Day 23, 2017 - Moratinos to Bercianos del Real Camino


I don’t know a thing

except that the second bar

is a good idea.  


Departed at 8:00am
40° partly cloudy, no rain.

It was a cold morning walking into the wind. I headed out solo and thought about how I walked this same ancient Roman road last year with Luca, one of the five Slovenian monks who I met a few towns back. He said he wanted to walk with me until he believed I was strong enough to again walk alone (because of painful tendinitis). He was a chatterbox and as I limped beside him, distracted by his banter, the long walk became bearable. 

Unlike other days, today the path was mostly unrecognizable. It was long and straight and I didn’t have a sense of what might be ahead, when the next town was coming, nor did I remember any landmarks. It occurred to me when someone else takes care of me, I notice less than when I take care of myself. I rely on my senses less if someone else leads the way. I suppose it's not a person but the distraction a person creates that accounts for this. At any rate, I was grateful for Luca's companionship. I won't forget him. 

It wasn’t long before I met up with Andrea from Italy. In conversation, he told me he liked to start walking each day in the dark along with the moon and the stars. He often started at 4:30am and was finished just as others were looking for a lunchtime, pilgrim meal. He walked until he was tired and then stopped. Sometimes, he ended up at a "donativo" albergue and in exchange for a bed he cooked for the other pilgrims. His English was good; his smile contagious. 

I walked past an old man with a bag, collecting snails. If I had seen one as I walked I would have hidden it. I heard myself say out loud as I walked ahead, "quick, hide little snails"...I’m an animal lover at heart.   

I walked into Sahagún which felt like walking into Burgos or Logrono. It seemed to take forever. But by the clock, the first 10k went fast. A taxi drove by; I was not tempted, not even by the signs posted on buildings with phone numbers for taxi service.

I searched for the second cafe or bar and found the Celtic bar I stopped in last year.  As the tribe increased in number and distances between us increased, we all agreed to stop at the second  bar/cafe in any given town; not the first. That way there was greater chance to meet again. The tortoise could catch the hare. It was at this bar that I met Lisa again and her German friends. They were catching the bus from Sahagún to go home. Thanks to our agreement, I was able to say goodbye.   

I walked through the market area, amazed by the variety of items for sale, paying no attention to yellow arrows or lack of them. Finally, and before any WOS (walks of shame), I asked a passerby to point me in the direction of the Camino de Santiago. It was 11:30 AM and I had 10 km to walk. 

My mind wandered. I thought about those I have met on the Camino; then and now...those who have touched my life, made a difference, small or large, from all corners of the world, who I may never see again. 

What is it that Gibran says about friendship?
"Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."

I was and am refreshed...and grateful.