Our daughter Laura wrote to ask the question that everyone is thinking but no one is asking. I quote: “I’m honestly not sure why you are continuing. I know to a certain extent it’s a personal goal, but I kinda feel like maybe you don’t want to fold because of, I don’t know honestly, the fear of failure or disappointing friends and family? Because you won’t.”
Is that a sweet note or is that a sweet note? I guess, in my letters home, I have whined too much about my feet. That said, I never fully appreciated my feet until this pilgrimage. Healthy feet – what wondrous things!
As for the answer to Laura’s question, having turned 70, I am still in celebration mode. Quite a few years ago, I remember looking at the obituaries in The Wet Mountain Tribune. All three people who had died were younger than I. My goodness! (I think that is what is called a “wake up call.”) So this pilgrimage is a celebration, but a celebration in that looking over my shoulder, I see Father Time gaining on me: my time is limited: I should be storing up memories while I can. Tom Petty’s lyrics pretty much sum it up.
Leaving Rabanal for Molinaseca this morning was quite the delight. Given that daylight saving time is a thing of the past, we were able to set out during daylight – a huge improvement over setting out at dawn. The rising sun cast a golden glow over Rabanal as well as the surrounding landscape. Gilded is the word that comes to mind.
We have left the rain in Spain that falls “mainly on the plain.” A couple of days ago we had wind and rain the entire day. The rain blew in from the south with such force that our ponchos blew out at right angles from our bodies. We were soaked to the skin. If skin were capable of being wrung out, we could have done so.
Today we left the plain for good and began our assent. Gone are the endless unfenced vistas. Instead we have electric fences and livestock and pines and oaks and valleys. The plain has given way to mountains partially cloaked in mist. The humidity is high today. Getting a clear photo of the mountains is impossible.
The first village after Rabanal, so perfect in its timelessness that it might have been a movie set, surprised us with the strains of Beethoven coming from a cafe. A perfect morning made more perfect.
Dropping stones (representative of our sins) along the way is practiced by many. For some pilgrims, the stones do not represent sins; rather, they represent small transgressions, concerns, or worries. Maybe the stones are the niggling pinpricks that keep us awake at night. Maybe the stones are small prayers for ourselves or others. Maybe we just need to lighten our load.