Stage 7: Logroño to Najera
For those who do not know me very well let me tell you a little secret – humility is not really my thing. I am very well aware of my white male privilege (that’s what I have friends (you know who you are) and a daughter for) and I trend to either wield it like a sword or carry it like a shield. The sword to fight for justice when my access it helpful (I know I know) and a shield to protect my ego from the world. Now I know that that is not very nuanced, but for this story its enough and its my blog anyways.
My privilege leaves me thinking that I can do anything, the world (and my mom)has told me so.
Like I said humility is not really my goto but the Camino has this amazing way of stripping away your pride and making you come face to face with your shortcomings (its kind of like family that way.) Today was one of those times.
Let me start this tale of woe from the beginning. Last time I walked the Camino I had great problems with my feet. This time so far so good. This year however on the very first day ascending the Pyrenees I wrenched an already bad knee. Needless to say my knees have been bothering me ever since – not a problem, I have had knee issues my entire adult life and I deal (I am very brave)(side bar – A very wise friend, Clarke Hendley, once told me “you know Bob, sarcasm does not translate onto paper” and I have spent my life ever since trying to prove him wrong with little success).
Ok, back to my tale of woe: After my walk yesterday I was really hurting and even got myself wondering how munch longer I could go on. Proof that to much time to oneself and with ones own thoughts can make you think all kinds of negative things. So this morning when I woke up and my knees (yes now plural) were still hurting and I did the one thing I said I would never do – I sent my heavy backpack forward to where I am staying tonight and carried just a small day pack I keep rolled up in by bag for evening strolls. YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND – I said I would NEVER do this and I did. Guess what? A little humility and self awareness can paid off. 30km later I arrived feeling better then I had in days.
Pride has no place on the Camino and as I have learned one more time the Camino is a metaphor for life – A little humility goes a long way.
As we pass through this Easter season its nice for this old priest to remember that everyday has the possibility for resurrection – even if it is just a pair of beaten up pair of knees.
PS – here are a few pictures from the day
This was supposed to post a couple of days ago but I was having WiFi issues – still cant get it to download picture, hopefully soon.
This is my first post in a number of years (that number being 4). The reason for this resurrected blog (its an Easter thing – get it?) is that I am once again walking the Camino De Santiago, some 600+ miles from St-Jean-Pied-de- Port in France, over the Pyrenees (ugh) across Spain to Santiago de Compostela. The reason for this walk has not yet been completely revealed to me, but ever since I did this pilgrimage in 2014 I have wanted to return. Due to the graciousness and patience of Priscilla, my wife, and the generosity of the good people of St. James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, were I am rector, I am on sabbatical and find myself on this historic and grueling pilgrimage/walk again.
If you want to continue to fallow me as I cross Spain there are a few ground rules we have to set.
1: I am a terrible speller and even though I use spell check errors will happen.
2: My use of punctuation is often incorrect but works for me – so enjoy
3: I blame 1&2 on my dyslexia so to comment would be rude and really not to the point😁.
4: if these things bother you, I am sorry and suggest that you do not read on as they will be ever present without my resident proof readers.
5: I will only blog from time to time, with more frequencies at some points then others – sorry, I know that it is fascinating 😉.
6: Please enjoy what I do offer – this is understandably probably not very important to you – but it is to me.
7: My humor is an acquired taste so be generous – that should be a life rule for everyone.
8: Most importantly please keep me in your prayer as I walk and Priscilla in my absence (although I think secretly it is nice for her after 32 years of marriage to have a little quite.)and (what is that about absence, the heart and fondness)
But first a disclaimer: As many of you who are wasting you time waiting for me to say something profound know, I am dyslexic and on top of that writing these posts after a long day of walk – so please excuse spelling, punctuation and grammar errors as well as rambling and not making a clear point. In other words, it will be just like my preaching.
Ok now with that behind us.
Today we finished are walk through the Pyrenees. They say the view in the mountains is fantastic; I would not know. The day and the walk started with beautiful weather. Quickly it became a frozen rain with very high winds in a very unprotected environment. The rain turned to snow and by the time I had reached the top of the mountain 2 inches had fallen. I thought I had brought everything I needed – but glove? who would have thought?
That said I loved ever minute of it. What I did see that beautiful and breathtaking, the challenge was great and I was up for it – I am quite sure that I had a stupid grin on my face the whole time. This has truly been one of the best days I have ever spent doing anything (excluding my wedding day, of course)
At this point in the journey things flatten out and get a little longer. I am looking forward to leaving the forest and the mountains and walking through villages and Hamlets.
Since I have been here I have noticed that no one uses the language of “planning” or “my plans,” the word used is “hope” like I hope to make Santiago by the end of the month” not I “plan to ……” and when people do, the response from other is something like (depending on the one of seven language that are what I am experiencing here) “that nice” or “we’ll see” or the internationally recognized eye roll.
I am having fun, meeting new people from all over, eating good food and being challenged at every turn – it is just about perfect
Yes- twice. I got a ride from the small hamlet of Valcarlos, outside of Pamplona, Spain (where I stayed last night) over the mountains in a very scary drive, to the village of St-Jean-Pied-De-Port, France (the traditional starting point of the Camino). Then I went to the Pilgrim’s Office to see if the Napoleon Route up and over the Pyrenees the was open, due to the altitude and unpredictable weather, it was closed yesterday. Thankfully it was open and we walked through a good deal of on again – off again fog and only about 1/2 an hr of driving rain (no big deal, kinda nice in-fact). It was a short day, as I promised Priscilla I would take it easy the first day. It is however the steepest walk of the Camino, at times feeling straight up into the clouds, in-fact it felt that way the whole walk – straight up.
That said it was with out a doubt the most beautiful walk I have ever done.
As I walked the sense of awe and gratitude I felt was overwhelming. God has blessed me with an amazing family and parish that have made this possible and a wife that has been a blessing for so many years and continues to amaze me.
We have all been blessed with a creation, that in the places we have not messed up, gives us a glimpse into the “heart and mind” of a Creator that does things beyond our expectations and imaginations daily – and today was one of those days
Here are some photos of the day. By the end of this journey, at the rate I am going, I will have taken hundreds and will be more then glad to share them with whoever would like to see them. I will however for the purposes of this blog restrain myself.