“Today is not my day,” I tell Hila. It is 7:00 a.m. and I have packed and repacked my bag ten times. I can’t seem to get it right.
“Don’t say that,” Hila says, “or you will make it come true.”
But I am wrong about the day.
The bells of the church chime as we walk out of town. The sky, true to form, is brilliant and glowing. I stop every few minutes to take pictures. I can’t get enough of this sky.
Between photos I think of my friends, A and J, who are marrying tomorrow. They will go to the courthouse, in jeans, to be wed by a wild, dreadlocked friend of theirs. Seven years tomorrow they have been in love. A and J, today as I walk I think of you and wish you a love that grows ever stronger as the years roll by.
It is a beautiful morning and the breeze is cool. The trail is thin with pilgrims and I walk alone past grapevines and olive trees. I am smiling and lifted. I feel so happy for this rich and colorful life of mine.
We stop at 10 a.m. for café con leche and baguettes. There is a church in town and I pop in for a visit. It is the first church that I have entered on the Camino. To tell the truth, I am not drawn to churches in the same way that I am drawn to the gompas, mani walls, and temples of the Buddhist Himalaya. But I think that, no matter the structure, a holy place is not where God resides but where I am still enough to feel God inside of me.
There is a funny character who keeps turning up as we walk. Hila asks me why I haven’t written about him yet. I tell her I will put him in the book, should I write one.
“We will have to come up with a good pseudonym for him,” I say.
Hila and Eran agree.
Eran decides that, if I write a book, he wants his name to be Alahhandro. I’m sure the name is supposed to be spelled with a ‘j’ but Eran insists it be spelled with two h’s.
“And with double quotation marks,” he says. “And you must throw your arms in the air when you say it.”
“”Alahhandro!”” he cries, flinging his arms upwards.
“”Alahhandro!”” we cry and throw our hands in the air, jabbing our walking sticks at the clouds.
Hila decides that her name will be Ursula but then she changes her mind. I tell her she has awhile to think about it.
On the way into Logrono we walk under overpasses decorated with graffiti. Most of it seems to encourage us to embrace religion or to free ourselves from it. But there is one message that stands out from the rest. It says: “Inner peace comes after the war within.”
Today I walked 10 miles.
This photo is for sale in the So Many Places SHOP.