Walking East Journal


Mar 2010 23

The wrong path

Our logo

[Wi-Fi is finally available. It has been absent from my stops since Sarria and I added nothing there. I added this and the next entries today.]
 


 
The wrong path
22 Mar – I walked from Alto de Paio this morning and stopped in O Cebreiro for a coffee and sandwich around 12:30.
 
As I am ready to continue, to walk down the deep valley east, someone tells me it was better to walk forward and take the first road to the right rather than taking the path I think is the one to take. I take that first road. It becomes a farm path that leads me steeply down to a barn. It becomes more grassy and less traveled. I think I am taking a path to get my cart around a bad part of the Camino. It becomes less traveled. Scrub brush is growing in it. By now I am far down and sure that the Camino is to my right. So I cross a field (very down also) and find a traveled path that I think is the Camino. It continues down until it becomes less used also. Farther on it becomes a creek. I am not in the correct location and I’m not going to find the Camino here. O Cebreiro looks a long way back up. In fact by this time it is invisible since I am down in a deep part of the valley.
 
I decide I have to go back up and try to find where the Camino is even if I have to go all the way back to O Cebreiro. I start. The path is steep and full of rocks and little bushes. I tug and drag the cart less than a step at a time. I stop often to catch my breath. A long way up I discover that where I got on this path, it didn’t continue up. I must have turned the wrong way when I came out of the field. I didn’t; that path ends too. So it’s back up the field of short grass. What a long walk and how steep it is. I continue shuffling up half a step at a time dragging the cart. By this time the backpack is out of the cart and on my back to make the cart more bearable. Then I am back on the original path struggling through the bushes again.
 
By four I am back on the top. It was 1:30 when I started down. I haven’t found the Camino. I put my pack in the cart and look farther along the road for that right turn. It’s only a few yards/meters farther. It’s well marked and clearly the place to go. But I am tired. I am beat actually. I get a room for the night and sleep a while. When I get up I have cramps in my fingers from holding the cart so tightly.
 
Tomorrow I’ll try the other path.
 


 
23 Mar – It was the correct path and it went far above the one I was on yesterday. It is not difficult at all. There are some steep and rocky places but nothing like the bushes and brambles of yesterday. I should have suspected things were wrong a long time before I got so far down. But I didn’t and the experience was not that bad.

Comments: 1. Comments not working. Click Contact us on right.



Mar 2010 23

Fog

Our logo

21 Mar – A blank white a hundred meters/yards away faces me as I walk out of the alberge in Triacastela this morning. I go to go back in to wait for it to clear off. I am about to climb the huge mountain side toward O Cebreiro. I want to see it, to enjoy its beautiful scenery. But I restrain my reaction and decide that the universe has something to say to me with this fog. This is the day I have been given; this is the day I will take. I will go.
 
I have decided not to pull the cart up the muddy stony paths of the Camino. Instead I walk to the regional highway LU633 just around the corner and turn right. I cannot even see a block up the street. But I can see far enough that I am sure the cars can see me in time to avoid running me over. I swing the cart behind me and begin to pull it up the hill.
 
As we walked to Rome in late 2006 we had a similar encounter with the fog. That time we continually looked for a town that was supposed to be ahead of us. It never came. We looked forward trying to see beyond where we were to something in the future, all to no avail. In our book Germany to Rome in 64 days (lulu.com) we say:
 
“We’re stuck in our immediate present, in our Now. Petra’s realizes that the fog is telling us that we have to look at and pay attention more to where we are than where we want to be later. We have to live Now, not tomorrow. It’s not a new lesson. But today a new teacher, the fog, retells it. Everything in the Universe has something to tell us. We only have to listen.”
 
And now the fog is back to talk to me, to tell me a similar story. Live where you are and don’t look far down the road to see what is there. But this time it also has a second reminder: What is so clear today may not be tomorrow. The opposite is also true: What is not clear today may be entirely so tomorrow. The world hides and reveals itself as it wills. What was enlightenment today often is only confusion tomorrow. The fog plays tricks. A tree appears. It disappears. It reappears. It lapses into a state of is-it-there-or-not. So it is that the enlightenment I had another time fades in and out today. It is like walking a labyrinth when one time you are so close to the center only to be thrown all the way out to the edge far from the center on the next turn and then as quickly back towards the center.
 
After the fog plays hide and seek with me a while, it totally covers and drizzles on me making me walk in the present, feel the rain, and walk, just walk. Then it parts and shows me the whole world, the whole valley covered with clouds, sun, and green pastures. It plays these games with me into the afternoon.
 
This fog is also like my dream from long ago where I am standing on a hill looking at the road ahead and below going through valley after valley and over hill after hill. Each valley is full of fog; each hill clear. I have always interpreted this to be telling me that there will be many valleys where I will feel very lost but the road will always come out again into the open and I will know just where I am. All will be clear again. I only have to remember that when I am in the foggy valley.
 
This walk is to be walked. Its meaning at times dwells behind curtains of fog. I will not always know why I am walking. This morning’s fog slowed me down to look at the flowers again, too enjoy the walk. It allowed me stop when I wanted to stop, to not be afraid of not covering my “required” 20 kilometers.

Comments: 0. Comments not working. Click Contact us on right.