Well here we are – at the end of the road for this pilgrim. Two years ago I watched a stupid movie and the next thing you know I’m telling folks I’m going to walk across Spain just like Martin Sheen did in “The Way.”
His way was nothing like my way, but that’s Hollywood for you.
And then I got on the road – The Way of St James – for the last 22 kilometers to Santiago de Compostela.
And I gotta tell you it was like a carnival and I loved it!
I savored every step, pinching myself that this was it – at long last my fucking Spanish Schlep was coming to an end.
I’ve walked across this entire country and there’s not a bronze shell or yellow arrow to mark the way that I could have missed. There’s no way Stevie Wonder could have missed the markings up to this point. But the minute we get to the Santiago- sorry pilgrim, you’re on your own. I guess it was the final bitch slap we get for thinking we’ve got this thing down.
“Ahhh, and there’s no one here to hug you….
“Not yet, my husband is driving, but he’s lost”
“Ahhh dearie, that won’t do, let me give you a hug right now!”
And I cried again.
Yeah only on the Camino do they make you stand in line for hours to get a certificate to certify that you walked the walk.
I splurged the whole two extra Euros to get another fancy piece of paper – something in Spanish that hopefully says I walked from France to Santiago.
Certificates in hand I ran to the cathedral for the 7:30pm pilgrims’ mass to witness the swinging of the Botafumerio.The Botafumeiro, or as I like to call it, the Joey Buttafucco, is suspended from a pulley mechanism in the dome of the ancient church and about eight priests pull on ropes to make this giant burning incensed-filled urn swing back and forth over the heads of all us sinners.
The mass was in Spanish so I had plenty of time to reflect on my purpose for doing this Camino – besides, you know, Martin Sheen made it look so easy and so fun.
I didn’t know it at the beginning, but now I know why I’ve marched across Spain – It’s for my girls – the loves of my life.
I was there when they each took their first steps, but I won’t be an eyewitness to their next big steps. The ones that will take them into adulthood.
There will be their first real jobs, their first true romances, marriages and possibly children.
There will be happy times, hardships and heartaches, and hopefully I will be there to give them comfort and support, but who knows.
I have this awful movie that plays out in my mind way too often – it’s of their childhood, and it’s set on fast forward. I so wish I could press pause or even the rewind button and go back, relive each and every one of those days – they were the best days of my life and they’re gone.
I’m not a moron I know there are many great days – hell, great years to come – but they’ll be different.
Now I have to share them – with their lovers, their school, their work, their friends, and their busy lives – and I’ve never been good at sharing.
It seems funny that I feel so close to them here in Spain thousands of miles away from them, but I do.
I listen to their favorite songs and I remember the concerts, car rides, or just the background music playing in our kitchen when we were all living at home together.
I will not always be there for my girls but I want them to know that no matter what life hands them – they can move forward, move ahead, and get to where they want to be, get to be where they need to be – by just taking one step at a time. And I know no matter where their lives take them – I will always be with them – in person or in their hearts – encouraging them every fucking step of the way.
13 Miles walked today
(Arca/O Pedrozo – Santiago de Compostela)
505.8 Miles traveled
Countless Miles to go on my next adventure
505.8 Miles between St Jean Pied de Port, France and Santiago de Compostela, Spain
(Note: 3 “Stages” Skipped – Over the entire course, I’m guessing I didn’t walk about 35-40 miles)
1 Bus ride
1 Taxi ride
1 Emergency Ride with my darling husband