A few months ago a dear friend and former colleague at Williston School retired. To my amazement her goal was to walk a portion, or possibly all, of the Camino, walking from France through Spain to the sea, a 500 mile walk, (mostly on pavement since 1987) and studded with quaint towns, guest houses, and churches. My friend is not particularly religious but her suggestion stirred something in me that had touched her, a desire to commit to a rigorous activity in the name of something greater than either of us.
Surprisingly my husband Tom agreed to go. We are not getting any younger-he’s 71 and I will be 67 in December. On our walks around our three miles here on our road, we pick up the detritus of others: bottles, cans, papers, it’s something of a good works project rather than a religious practice but it has become a meditation we practice three or four times a week. Walking is good for body and soul and we try to make a small difference in our neighborhood.
The Camino will be different, we will be walking for something else. Maybe the memory of my mother who walked her way to good health for 95 years, maybe to visit and to pray in the churches along the route, maybe just to think about something that has been happening for a long time, people walking and praying, it’s quite a responsibility.
To quote from Wikipedia “The Way of St. James (commonly known by its name in Spanish: El Camino de Santiago) is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat, for their spiritual growth.”
I’m not sure we will grow, although I am sure we will age and they say with age comes wisdom, perhaps the wisdom to find things eternal and divine.