I’m walking or shall I say limp or stumble down the trail. (My foot injury is bad and yes I will make it.). The land scape is both wild and historically domesticated. Old apple trees along grown over edges of fields, a forest of Beech, chestnut, maple, alder. Older. Lots of early wild flowers, violet, Lilly of the valley dandelion,nettle, dock (oh I could go off on the plants….I love them so much) old stone structures….any way were walking slowly when I hear a bird say, “we have a problemo they are moving to slow- o.” There is a conversation with the birds and something else, a nature being perhaps. I here the birds say “we will go ahead and clear the way but if they can, speed them (us) up!” I sped us up and soon then Daisy sped us up even more…. About an hour and a half later we arrive into the town of Arres. We had just crossed this vey long old stone, Roman made bridge, set our packs in front of the Alburgee (a pilgrims hostel) when the door automatically opens. A monk greets us and right then a bird bursts out this amaizing song and it begins to rain, again. I felt as if our arrival was announced. I thanked the birds and other nature beings for what ever guidance we might be receiving. Mucho Grasias!
This old Alburgee has been the first place I have felt this sense of holy connection to place, land, soul and guardianship. I can appreciate Christianity and my practice is different. But this place….I can pray here. I can resonate to this old church and little town landscape. It installs this wordless feeling that I associate with reverence.
In the morning, Daisy and I walk into Pampalona. Walking slowly. Only 3 easy miles. We find a cafe with wifi. Only the wifi does not work…again… I have my first coffee, delicious and Daisy has a cup of cocoa that looks like hot chocolate pudding. She loves it! We then get in line to sign into the Santa Maria Auburgee located in the heart of Pampalona. A day of rest…perhaps…or taking care of things. Washing laundry, mailing back to Maui layers we do not need, therefore significantly lightening our packs. Finding the post office which was a huge learning curve, going to the pharmacy and buying….drugs! I am the owner of ibprophen, some kind of leg salve for shin splints and blister salve. Daisy is much to tired to explore this historic city. She just needs “homey” time. We return to the Auburgee and Daisy cooks for us chicken soup with beans and potatoes. I do the dishes. It is here in the kitchen in the Auburgee of 110 bed that we run into an older Brazilian couple who informed us that the woman who was annoyed with us for not pushing into Pamplona ( she did not like that we did not go the distance from larasona and stopped In Arres) developed terrible shin splints and had to take the bus home (only 3 mile difference but a tired body and 3 additional miles can be hard on ones body) I met a young woman today who also has to go home from an injury and I say to Daisy, see how good your doing? This Camino is a demanding teacher and so far you have made it this far. There is no such thing as perfect. We don’t know if we are going to make it, but let us hold the intention that we will. There are so many walkers and most are in pain. Most are hobbling like ourselves. Yet there is this special commitment to move forward and everyone is supportive no matter their temperament. Our newly made friends Michael and Anne may also have to stop. Tomarrow Anne goes to the doctor. I pray for good sound healing acceptance for what ever the outcome might be and optimism for possibility – what ever that could look like even if the Camino is not part of it. As an industrialized culture we set our “eyes on the prize” rather than the process. There are those things that “teach” by not making it. A much harder lesson sometimes.
We have made it this far and will walk at least 5 kilometers Tomarrow or onward. Tomarrow is supposed to be sunny! Hurray! Perhaps that will lift us. I have come to realize through all of this that we are on the Camino. A kind of flowing energetic river. Though we will see many sights we are in a flow that will guide our experience not the “sight seeing” as a could or a should but a part of what will at times be part of the adventure and other times not part of the adventure. Pamplona was one of these places. I was excited to walk into this city and see the sights of this amaizing place. We have walked the winding streets but that is all and Tomarrow we move onward with what I feel to be relief. There’s this song:
“the river is flowing, flowing and growing, the river is flowing down to the sea. Mother carry me a child I will always be, mother carry me down to the sea”
Help us to stay in the flow of the Camino. We need all the help we can get. Why this is such hard work I do not understand especially as an accomplished hiker/backpacker, but it is. My prayer is to lighten Daisy’s spirit. Light her up, get her strong and help her find that sweet rugged macho quality that can be so helpful in these kinds of situations. Give her confidence. Help her to look forward rather than to spend so much time missing all her friends and family. Missing people makes your energy sticky. Help her cleanse gently. Help her to see that her growing into this experience is a gift to all her friends and family.