There were two walking routes today, a 14-mile route and an 18-mile route. Multiple weather forecasts predicted a clear day and I felt great after a night of uninterrupted sleep in my own room. I chose the 18-mile route.
The walk was stunning, through pastoral farmland and past mossy stone walls. Today felt more like walking through Ireland than Spain. I’ve never been to Ireland but Irish John, another pilgrim I’m keeping time with, told me so. I believe it.
Because I chose the alternative route I walked alone today. I reveled in the solitude and the silence. I can’t believe that Santiago is only four days away. It feels as though I’ve just started walking. Yet, when I think back to that first week with Hila and Eran it feels like a lifetime ago.
As this walk draws to a close I can’t help thinking, again, about why I’m here. I’m not sure that I’ll have any big breakthroughs. No life-changing revelations are in store for me. But I think that I have gained something small and silent and true along the way.
See, I’ve always considered myself wildly independent. But I’ve also been deeply entrenched in a relationship for 11 years now. I think I wondered if I could be both independent and dependent, alone and together, whole on my own and as part of a couple. I needed the answer to that question and I got it. The answer is yes.
I walked and walked. It was such a lovely day.
I stopped frequently to rest. The birds chirped in the trees and bells, tied around the necks of goats and cows, clanged somewhere in the distance.
Towards the end of the day I pulled out my iPod and listened to the On Being podcast. I put on an interview with Xavier Le Pichon called Fragility and the Evolution of our Humanity. Le Pichon spoke about compassion and sharing. “Your heart cannot be educated by you,” Xavier said, “It can only be educated by others.”
It was such a moving interview. I listened to Le Pichon speak of communion and I wondered what I am doing with my life. How am I making things better? Shouldn’t I be doing more?
I walked. I felt so lucky and also so sad. I have so much, I thought. Don’t those of us that have so much also have an obligation to do good by what we have? I sat down on a rock at the edge of a big, green field. I asked God to help me make my life meaningful and worthwhile.
Today I walked 18.3 miles (29.5 km).