It’s been a year now — well, it was one year ago yesterday that I began to walk to Santiago de Compostela. We were in St. Jean Pied de Port, France. The day was still young, so we decided to embarque on Sept. 26 instead of the original intent of beginning on St. Vincent’s feast day (Sept. 27). Just 2 women, who would journey together for nearly 6 weeks — 500 miles on foot, carrying a backpack.
I’ve spend time remembering during the past week. I’ve longed to be back in Spain, back in the simplicity of walking through a landscape that I knew very little about. It was a time of managing expectations by leaving them behind and living in the now. A time of not knowing exactly where I would sleep, or eat, but trusting that “all shall be well.”
It brings me a smile to think of the sounds of the Camino — especially the bells: cow bells, sheep bells, bells on horses, church bells. At times the wonder absence of the sounds of electronic devices, and at other times the hum and buzz as we walked under the path of high tension power lines. The sounds of windmills on the crest of the mountains. Sounds of laughter and conversation and sing-alongs and guitars.
The colors: the brilliant, yet soft gold of so many sunrises that I/we walked through, the brilliant blue Spanish skies – a blue I seldom if ever see here at home, the flechas amarillas (yellow arrows) that marked The Way. The warm, caramel color of my more cafe con leche. Red umbrellas over tables in front of various bars. Even the blackness that surrounded us as we gazed upon the glory of the Milky Way in the predawn just outside San Juan de Ortega. The greens of Galicia. Des colores!
The people… both locals and peregrinos. Friends I may have the rest of my life, and friends I will likely never see again. My companions on the journey hailed from all around the world: Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, Korea, Australia, Romania, South Africa by way of England, Ireland, USA (California, Washington state, Minnesota, Boston), Canada (English and French), Sweden, Germany, Poland…
I could tell you every detail, but to understand, I truly believe you have to do it yourself.