I slept well. Apparently some other didn’t. I guess my kindle made noises again (if only for a short while) and I was snoring a bit – from what Cormac told me the girl in the bunk next to me was sitting up staring at me, perhaps wondering if she should kick me in the balls to make me stop.
I had forgot to mention that as we headed into San Juan de Ortega, we ran into Jose (the new Kento). He had been walking with a father and daughter on the camino and I snapped this picture. OK, well I guess you don’t snap pictures anymore. Let me rephrase: “my phone coordinated bits and bytes and digitally captured this representation of one interpretation of reality”.
My daughter was about the same age when I took her on the one hike that would be our first, and perhaps our last (I carried her the last 1/2 mile singing Katy Perry’s “Firework”). It was bad judgement on my part, but when your a patent, all you’ve got is your judgement, and you do the best you can. I’m surprised I wasn’t made to apologize for this major transgression, like when I endangered Hannah’s life by driving her back from her class in the front seat of the car when she was sick, at 30 miles an hour.
It seems like, for many parents, just by virtue of the fact they had a child, they think they know everything about parenting. Somehow they forget about the lessons instilled on them from their parents (those parents working out their shit). But who knows? I’m buoyed by a friend (he commented on one of the posts about this) that recently took his 17 year old daughter on a section of the John Muir trail. She cried at the beginning, and hugged him at the end.
The snoring was probably due to the fact that I hadn’t really slept well since I began the camino and had finally fallen into a deep sleep. I was kind of running on cafe con leche and adrenalin, along with the stuff that keeps haunting me, running through my head.
This would be the last morning Cormac and I would depart together. He would be meeting his girlfriend in Burgos, our terminus at the end of the day. He was still suffering some from his blisters, but the worst was behind him.
We left the old church we had slept at that night and headed down the camino, talking about everything and anything as had become our habit, Cormac and I had become like old friends at this point. He may have launched into some more donkey jokes, I don’t remember.
We came to Ages, a small town where some of our fellow pilgrims had chosen to stay the night before. We found the cafe (there was usually one open in every small town) and had one of the best breakfasts yet- a ham and cheese empanada. Cormac differed a little bit in his opinion, playing the expert card since he had lived in Argentina for awhile
The place was nice and cool, it kind of had a south pacific feel- it even had one of those wooden statues with a giant hard on, probably some sort to fertility thing. I stayed to finish uploading and posting the days blog, Cormac and Heather, who had joined us, moved ahead. The Buffalo couple came in just as I was leaving.
After leaving the town, I walked along a road. Finally the camino parted ways, climbing up and away from the road, into farm country. After about a mile there was a traffic jam- a farmer was moving his goats to an upper field. I stopped and watched the parade, as cow bells (goat bells?) lightly clanged in the air. Can I say it was magical?
The path made a steep ascent. To the left was a barbed wire fence with a sign that said it was a military zone. I had to laugh, the camino is a path of solitude, peace, wisdom, and here it was running next to a military zone. I walked on the part of the past that was sandy, making it easier on my blisters (the other side was rocky). It’s always better to walk on the soft part, as long as its not too soft. I guess in life, most of us need to walk on solid ground. That way you know what to expect. Not sure where that leaves me, choosing to walk across Spain to visit a dead saint.
Eastern to Mountain, third party call, the lines are down
The wise man built his words upon the rocks
But I’m not bound to follow suit
The trees will bend, the conversation’s dimmed
Go build yourself another home, this choice isn’t mine
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry -REM
Regarding relationships and solid ground: Although Amanda and I met at a party, one might think our relationship would be an example of one that, for the most part, was built on firmer ground, since both of us have kids, similar life experiences, had been separated the same amount of time, we had even worked in the same industry. Oh, and we also both had been hurt by former relationships, bad marriages.
The only problem is, when your older you have more baggage. And maybe, if you’re like me, you still have some growing up to do. You may be that same immature person you were when you dove into that former relationship. When your older and you have baggage (and everyone does, btw) you really have to love the person to accept their baggage. You each have to set down those bags and start taking things out, and revealing them to each other.
I guess thats what intimacy is, putting your heart out there knowing the other person could hurt you, and could use the things you tell them against you. I know I’ve been a victim of this. And this is where trust comes in. And depending on how you’ve been hurt, and if you’ve dealt with it, trusting that other person can be next to impossible.
Amanda and I found ourselves in this vicious cycle. How it seems to work is that a person will get close and then…pull back, fearing getting hurt again. And then maybe they’ll get close again. And then they’ll get scared again, and pull back. Once again, TVITBOYH whispering shit in your ear.
The detritus is tears, confusion, hurt. I think the key is to figure out a way to let that other person in, to trust them, no matter what it takes. Only then can the healing begin. The journey you both go through will not only start to heal the wounds of the past, but will also create the bonds that make for a strong relationship.
When I got to the top of the hill I was climbing, I found Cormac talking to some bearded Gandalf looking dude and his tribe. Amongst other things, he offered up some wisdom in regards to the camino, what it is, and what it means.
During the first section (St. Jean to Burgos, the section we were completing) you prepare yourself to die, to cast off some of the things you’ve been lugging around for too long, things you have no use for anymore. Kinda like my fucking Kindle. I haven’t even used it, probably won’t, and it just keeps waking people up. I should probably toss it as a symbolic gesture.
When you arrive in Burgos and travel to Leon, your old life will die. Many things will change. You will meet new people, you will separate. You will have resistance within yourself to leave that baggage on the camino. You will be scared, scared of the future, the unknown. You might even cry, vomit, have a emotional crisis. It’s sort of a purging.
From Leon to Santiago, you will become a new person, a rebirth. You will look at your life, the camino and assess it. Once you arrive in Santiago, if you go no further, you will go home and recover your old life.
If you continue to Finisterra (another 50k after where the dead dude is buried, and on the ocean), its like a contraction, before birth. You go to the water, and you wash your hands and feet of your old life. You wash your head of your old way, your old concept of life. You are like a new baby. Damn, does that mean I need to walk another 50 miles if I really want to come clean (pun intended)?
We left this wise guy, and stopped in another village, Atapuerca, and ate the sandwiches we had made earlier. A farm town, the road through town was wider for trucks, harvesters, farm equipment. One story houses lined the street, there was farmland beyond.
After 1.5k we hit Cardenuela Riopico, a mix of old and new buildings. Music was playing from speakers at the cafe, it gave the morning a lightness, and gave me a little bounce to my step despite the remnants of my blisters.
Pretty soon we were walking on the main highway into Burgos. Trucks and cars were speeding by. Not too peaceful of a camino. We were walking along when we came upon the back of the airport. The last 8 miles or so into Burgos was supposed to be butt-ugly- mostly belching smokestacks (a few of which we could see in the distance) and industry.
But once again, Brierley to the rescue. He mentioned an alternate route which skirted the other side of the airport, ran through a small town, and into a park. I definitely will be nominating him for sainthood.The airport was to our right and wheat fields were to our left. And apparently it was time to harvest the wheat. We kept moving off to the side to allow combines and other farm equipment to pass
After a few k, we entered a small town, sort of a suburb. Modern homes, a few small businesses. We crossed over another road into Burgos and were soon strolling next to a river. We decided to take a break and soak our feet in the river. It was cool, the current swift. We rested for awhile.
The path continued through shoulder high grass. Different paths intersected the camino. We ran across a gathering that was just convening, a few cars, 10 or 15 people, one dude had a guitar. We moved on and found ourselves walking in pretty much a straight line through a park. The river ran to our right, and park benches and open fields were to our left. We walked straight for several kilometers, until a bridge over a river took us into Burgos.
Cormac and I stopped at a coffee shop with wifi and located our hotels. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I had dinner that night with him and Sinead, some of the best food I’ve had on the trip- a ham elbow (didn’t know pigs had elbows), a roasted vegetable platter, something that had blood in it (can’t remember and ain’t gonna look it up. I walked 32k today).
After dinner we parted ways. I’ll most likely run into them on the camino, but I’m thankful for spending time on the path with Cormac, the laughs we had, that caustic Irish attitude of his, even the bad donkey jokes. I know my that my camino is a richer one for having gotten to walk with him for awhile.
I wrote this a few months ago. It’s a little obtuse, it kind of wrote itself as a metaphor. For me, I think it’s about me finally starting to heal, beginning to understand what I was coming out of, and seeing with more clarity where I stood. I was understanding myself better. And some of it is about the changes that Amanda and my relationship had been going through.
I had a dream last night. I was walking through a forest and came upon a house. The light on the porch was warm and inviting. I had been out in the cold awhile, had been in a few fights and was bleeding.
I walked through the front door and into a hallway. I walked down the hall and into the first room on the left. It smelled of new paint and fresh carpet. I looked out the window and saw a shooting star. The feeling was almost magical. I wanted to stay but knew I had to go.
I slowly moved back out into the hallway. A few steps on the right was another door, standing open. I was pulled into the room, it seemed by an invisible hand. The walls were painted bright colors, the light softly floating in through the windows. I didn’t want to leave. Somehow, the air in the room filled my senses, as if breathing new life into me. My wounds began to heal. But then, that same invisible hand pushed me out, back into the hall, with me fighting all the way.
I had no choice but to continue down the hall. I was kind of in a daze, and wandered for awhile. Finally, another door appeared on the left side of the hall. I pushed on the door and it swung open easily. I walked in and stood in the doorway, half in and half out. I wanted to enter, but something was telling me not to enter all the way.
Then, without warning, I fell asleep, standing right there in the doorway. When I woke up I was in in the most beautiful room of all. The walls were covered in billowy linen, warm light floated in through the windows. And then a soft, distant voice carried on a warm breath whispered in my ear. And it told me everything about the house I had come to find, there in the woods. Every deep dark secret conceived there. And I felt compelled to do the same. I opened up and spilled my guts.
I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to leave the room. I wandered, dazed and smiling down the hallway. But then something happened. I wasn’t sure what it was. I wanted to remember that room forever, but the memory faded. Somehow I couldn’t recapture it. I walked back up the hallway, but the doorway was gone. And then I woke up.
Now, my mind keeps drifting back to that hallway, looking for that doorway. But I can’t find it. And I don’t know why. But I’ll keep looking, and one day I’ll find it.
The universe threw me another hint that things weren’t right at home (apparently I needed to be clubbed upside the head like a cute little baby harp seal to figure it out).
My brother and I were on a job in Oregon, working for a guy who had been partners in our other production company (we made commercials for the golf industry) . Mack still hired my brother and I to work with him once in awhile (even though our experience wasn’t necessarily germane.). He knew we were responsible, willing, could figure out stuff. In essence we knew each other, and he knew we would do whatever it takes to get the job done for him. Thats what you do for people you love and respect.
My brother and I were sharing a bottle of wine in my hotel room. He had been reading a biography of some writer (Can’t You Get Along With Anyone?: A Writer’s Memoir and a Tale of a Lost Surfer’s Paradise by Alan Weisbecker). In it, Alan meets up with an old friend on Long Island and she follows him down to his compound in South America. She becomes his lover. She fucks around on him. He goes into detail about her manipulations, her gas-lighting. Before she joined him in South America she specialized in perception management.
I confessed to my bother for the first time that Janice and my marriage was on the rocks and told him about some of the things that Janice had done, and that I had finally recognized these things as being beyond the pale of usual martial strife. After I told him of the first occurrence, he said “thats in the book Im reading”
I told him another occurance. He said “thats in the book” . After 4 or 5 times of my brother repeating the same mantra, I had to take note. It was probably one of the first times i came to the realization of what was really happening in Janice and my marriage. I had refused to admit it, and still had a long ways to go to finally admitting that it was true.The author describes that he was a victim of gas-lighting, which is defined as manipulating (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity or reality.
What happens to us, to make us do these things to each other? To those that we love. Are we working things out for ourselves, and we don’t recognize that we’re hurting those we “love”? Are we trying to fill a void by whatever means necessary, damn the consequences? Do the ends really justify the means?
If I listen ling enough to you,
Id find a way to believe that its all true
knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried.
still I look for a reason to believe. -Tim Hardin
Were all just looking for love. As life gets more complicated and we reach out for love we have to tread lightly. Trying to celebrate the romantic vision we all have of life and love are put to task by the demons that fight within ourselves. It’s sad, but maybe it’s life just showing us the way, teaching us the lessons that must be learned. Our hearts must bear the burden, our souls have to show us the way. Thanks for reading…