It’s funny how things work. Yesterday’s walk was so hard for me. My legs and feet ached and my blisters forced me to limp my way into Najera. It was raining and I was tired. Even chocolate didn’t cheer me up.
But then I showered and went to a café for a glass of wine and to type up yesterday’s notes. And I had a moment, sitting there in the bar, when it dawned on me that I was alone in Spain in a café on a rainy afternoon, drinking wine and writing. And I felt so free and whole. I felt whole. And I realized that somewhere along the way these past few years I’ve found something that I didn’t consciously know I’ve been looking for.
Then, after the bar, I went to the market with a few other pilgrims and together we cooked dinner on a camp stove outside. We drank wine and talked and laughed and I was simply happy.
One of the pilgrims at our camp stove feast was a beautiful young girl from Arizona who recently graduated from college. We all went round in a circle explaining why we are here. When it was her turn she said she is here to figure out what she wants to do with her life. I just sat there thinking, oh, honey. I wanted to hug her and tell her to hang on for dear life to that thing inside of her that brought her here. I wanted to tell her that it will be a bumpy ride but when the road smooths she will be so grateful for her searching. I wanted to say, you’re so young! But I didn’t say anything. I just let her speak. And then I silently said a prayer of thanks that I am no longer in my 20’s.
When it was my turn to explain why I am here I rambled something about my book and how this walk is helping me escape the crush of expectation. I said something about looking for my next project. But what I said wasn’t right. Why am I here? I don’t have a true answer. I’m here because I’m here and that’s enough.
The walk today was beautiful, up and down rolling, rural farming roads. The usual aches and pains plagued me but still I felt okay. The sky was dark and the clouds were gorgeous in their stacks of slate and silver.
In the final hour I put my headphones in and turned on my iPod. That was a really good idea. My pace picked up and I smiled a goofy smile. I practically soared into Santa Domingo.
Now, I am kicked back on a couch in the albergue writing this to you. I’ve had cheese and pesto and red peppers for lunch. Eran just brought me a cup of Turkish coffee and a cookie (!).
Today was a very good day. I walked 13 miles (21 km).