I forgot to mention that the previous afternoon after getting into Honatas, I had ambled up the road to the public swimming pool. It was glorious, my spirits were lifted. My blisters were appeased. I met two guys from the states, more or less. One of them was Irish but had spent a year in western Kansas where he had met Colin (not his real name and but for some reason I kept calling him Colin). And I’m calling the Irish dude Clancy, a solid Irish name (or maybe I just think its kind of a funny Irish name), cause I can’t remember his name either (the camino was not providing in this case).
It was Clancy’s 3rd camino trip and he had dragged Colin along. They both seemed to be having a hell of a time and were walking 30-40k/day. Clancy was a nurse but was studying to be a game developer. He said his dream was to create some awesome games, and be walking down the street and see a kid wearing a shirt for the game he has yet to create.
He told me that when he saw this kid, he would stop the kid and give him free games for the rest of his life. I told him to always keep that with him, and make that his goal and that if he did, everything else would fall into place. I think the universe conspires if your goal is a bit more noble, and has some truth and purity to it. Strive to make life beautiful, and not always about money. I know, I’m a hopeless romantic and a naive motherfucker.
It reminds me of Tolstoy’s definition of art. He says that art is fueled by passion, but is fettered (look it up) by things like money, etc. In other words, if your motives aren’t pure or good, then your art is compromised. I’m obviously extending Tolstoy’s idea of what art is to other pursuits like Clancy’s, although anything we do in life can be done “creatively”, like art, if we choose to live a creative life. But that’s a whole other tangent I don’t have time time to elaborate right now, as my cafe con leche needs refilling.
Colin spent his time between eastern Colorado and Western Kansas, I think because that’s where his mom and dad both lived. He had just quit his job and didn’t know what he was going to do next, except to put one foot in front of the other on the Camino. ______________________
Anyway, due to my new blisters (praying to the patron saint of blisters et al hadn’t miraculously cured them) I decided to walk only 10k today, which would put me back on schedule since I had walked 30k the day before (Brierley breaks the two days into 2x 20 k days.) So I woke up at 7 and went down to finish the blog from 2 days prior and upload it.
After it had finished, I hobbled over to get breakfast and sat outside and wrote some of yesterdays blog. As I did, Cormac and Sinead ambled up, having got up early and walked from the previous town, where they had stayed.
I had a cafe con leche with them and bid them farewell. We would probably meet in Castrojeriz since we were both planning on staying there that night. I finished writing and realized I had forgot to pay for breakfast so went back and paid up. Fucking American tourists.
Hotanas, my jumping off point this morning, was in a little valley, which I continued walking through alone for several kilometers. It was still cool out, and the wind picked up some. The path was a bit rocky, several ups and downs (another apt metaphor- camino = life).
After moving down the path through rolling hills and fields, the camino joined a paved road, which my blisters were thankful for. It was quiet but for the combines that were harvesting wheat. A guy was bailing hay…and singing. Reminded me of the Springsteen song…..
Listen to your junk man
He’s singin’, singin’, singin’, singin’
All dressed up in satin, walkin’ past the alley
Maybe the point is that, in our busy lives, with our worries, the stresses we create which cause us to look at the world with disdain and lash out and hurt the ones we love, maybe we need to stand back, think about that junkman, that farmer who is…singing. And maybe that’ll help us put things in perspective.
After awhile the road went under a great arch, which was part of the ruins of Convento de San Anton XIV. The order was known for being able to cure the medieval scourge known as St Anthony’s fire (no relation to St Elmo’s fire for all you John Hughes fans, you know who are, don’t be afraid to admit it) which was a fungal disease kind of like leprosy.
They used the power of the Tau (love) in their healing practice. I looked for a nun but couldn’t find one, figuring she might be able to spare a little Tau. I thought about it and decided that maybe their magic only works on fungus anyway, not hearts, and I didn’t have any fungus that I knew of. Maybe love is kind of like fungus. It grows on you. Drum roll please. Or maybe it’s more like leprosy. Not sure, the jury’s still out.
The road continued straight into Castrojeriz. It was getting hot and none of the auberges were open yet (1400 was the usual time) so I walked around town. It was hot. Since part of my intent for this short walking day was to write, I found a hotel for 35 euro and checked in (this is my excuse and I’m sticking to it). It had a beautiful patio in the back that overlooked the valley, which is where I’m writing from, a cold glass of rose oiling the creative juices, or more than likely putting me to sleep.
While I was writing in my cheery spot (made more cheery by a second glass of rose’) I spoke with Davido from Italy (the bartender, check in guy, resident bon vivant and apparently the only guy who worked at the hotel) while I was writing. He had left Italy and started walking the camino and stopped here to work, figuring he’ll finish in the fall.
He’s making arrangements to go to Alaska and work with a Caribou shepherd, and then head down and see the West. It’s funny, and humbling, I feel like such a fraud- everyone I’ve met has such noble, good intentions with their lives. Funny, I haven’t run into any wall street guys or lawyers yet.
I finished up and went down the street to have dinner at a very American looking place. Kind of hip. When I walked in “California Dreaming” by the Mamas and the Papas was playing and I had to smile, being half way around the world from my home, and wondering how much it would still feel like my home when I returned.
Theres a whole lot in life to be unsure of
but theres one thing i can safely say i know
that of all the things that finally desert us
pride is always the last thing to go.
it won’t bring you love if you’ don’t love.
and it won’t bring you time if you aint got time
but it don’t bring you strength if you aint strong.
And it don’t bring you kindness if you aint kind
And now I wish you only roses, baby, without the thorns
And I hope your dreams are always within reach
And I wish you shelter, baby, from all your storms
They scared you, but they never seemed to teach
That I can’t bring you love if you don’t love
And I can’t bring you time if you ain’t got time
And I can’t bring you strength, baby, if you ain’t strong
And I can’t bring you kindness if you ain’t kind -Mary Chapin Carpenter
Whats she gonna look like when Im dead?
Still beautiful I bet
She’ll always be beautiful to me.