Tag Archives: spirituality

MAGIC on the Camino

For us, the MAGIC started as soon as we began to dream of walking the Camino….making the final decision to do it, planning, preparing physically, mentally, and spiritually, and finally, setting off. From the very beginning, things just fell into place so naturally….so easily….a reaffirmation that we were on our “life path.” 

Now, starting week 4 of our long walk, the MAGIC keeps happening in all kinds of ways. MAGIC on the Camino is when:

– the sun rises behind you and gilds the window frames of the most mundane of buildings, making them sparkle with gold highlights, bringing them to life.

– you meet someone on the trail who is a reflection of something you don’t like about yourself, thus providing valuable insights into yourself and the time to ponder them.

– the “hospitalero” in one of our albergues who gave us “feminine pads” for our blisters which actually worked to our great surprise!

– a hawk soars overhead in the wind currents over the meseta.

– we reach our albergue just before the clouds part and the rain begins to fall in buckets

– having passed by most churches with “oohs” and “ahhhhs”, you pass Santa Maria del Camino in Carrion de los Condes, notice the open door and know without a doubt you have to go in. Once inside, the energy of this 12th century church with the music of Ave Maria playing and the many candles burning….was simply overwhelming for me. Why? I have no idea but it elicited much emotion. We sat there a good 30 minutes. The feelings stay with me, even now. Truly MAGICAL!

– the concept of “time” falls away. Time no longer drives your decisions. It literally falls away. It is truly MAGIC. We walk all day, sometimes plodding, sometimes marching, loitering, strolling, singing, laughing, intellectualizing, emoting…… time passes. We are fully in each and every moment. 

– decision-making also falls away. There are no decisions to make because when the need for a decision arises, the decision makes itself. For example, reaching Calzada de Coto today, there was an alternate scenic route to take which was along a dirt track. We wanted to take it but considered that the rain yesterday would have made it a very muddy track. We decided on the senda. When we set off this morning, I was feeling heavy in my mind….I was plodding along the senda, the path for pilgrims that follows the highway and the highway was busy – lots of diesel fumes and noise. We turned off to take the scenic route instead of staying on the senda as planned. Immediately, I was happier, lighter….my legs no longer plodding, a spring in my step. That was magic!!! There is no point in making plans or decisions – they are being made by a higher power!!

– your feet no longer hurt.

– you find coffee at just the right moment.

– you find out that they do make scrambled eggs in Spain and FINALLY learn how to order them in Spanish.

– you hear the sound of bells and see a shepherd, his dog, and a huge flock of sheep getting ready to cross the road in front of you…a magical photo opportunity.

– you finally discover that “Smell of Spain” you’ve been noticing along the way and asking everyone about is the anise seed growing wild along the roadways!

– you walk by a mercado and find pistachios and cheerfully crack, eat, and spit out shells as you walk, making the steps whiz by.

– you see this little silver tube on the ground. The you see it moving. It is a centipede, heading from my side of the road to Michael’s. You stop to watch as it meanders over and around objects blocking its path. You continue on and see 6 more in a short period of time. It leaves you asking, “Why are the centipedes crossing the road?” As yet, we have no answer for that!

– you walk the whole day threatened by rain but don’t have to break out the rain gear.

Magic on the Camino is the gift of being fully in each moment….appreciating and taking note of every new smell, taste, image, thought, and sound. The cares of your world fall away. You learn important things about yourself. Magic on the Camino is meeting fellow walkers from all over the world, sharing smiles, sharing meals, trying to communicate and laughing over the efforts. Magic on the Camino is being with the one you love, walking together in all conditions, learning the lessons that are there for you.

AND WE’RE OFF!

AND WE’RE OFF! DENVER – ST. JEAN PIED DE PORT
We are sitting here having a final coffee at Denver International before catching our first flight to Atlanta. Mike is finishing last minute business on the phone and is fully focussed on what’s happening on the other end of the line ….. on MY phone so I have time to write a bit about the events leading up to our departure.

Everything went perfectly as planned …. well, except for one minor detail. The plan was for us to drop the “Fox” at the dealership in Cheyenne for some specific, warranty repairs. After that, another RV repair business would pick up the Fox, do the rest of the warranty work, and then store it until our return. We had said that we would blow out the lines. Mike had never done it before and when he went online to see how to do it, he discovered he was missing some of the needed tools to do the job. That plus the fact it was cold and raining and we still had lots of final organizing, stowing, and cleaning to do in preparation for towing, made us feel pressed for time. We decided to let the dealership do the winterizing for us.

We finally set off for Cheyenne, Fox in tow, and headed up the pass, through the fog, to Cheyenne. Dropped the Fox without incidence, stopped off for breakfast at a local Dennys and were back in Laramie early afternoon. Dropped our Camino gear at Laurie and John’s and headed for the Dodge Dealership to drop the truck. We needed a service as well as new tires so we arranged for the dealership to store the truck until our return. So many details and so many things to remember but it all paid off. As each day passed and the “things to do” got checked off the list, the load seemed to lessen. Now, finally, all we had to do was get ourselves to DIA.

True pilgrims, we left Laramie on foot, headed for the shuttle to Denver. No, we didn’t want to walk all the way to Denver!!

We had reserved seats on the shuttle from Laramie to Denver. The trip was almost effortless and we spent the two hours listening to “Coffeebreak Spanish” which we had neglected the past week. The shuttle dropped us at DIA, we located the hotel shuttle and were comfortable ensconced in our hotel by 230pm or close to. Went for and early dinner to Ruby Tuesday’s – they have a great salad bar and mega sized beer – and were back in time to catch the news, make some last calls to friends and family, and watch another episode of the documentary about the Vietnam War we’ve been caught up in.

My dear friend Carol had asked me if I expected to sleep well – that she never did prior to a long flight – I nonchalantly said I expected no problems sleeping. Famous last words….2am rolled around and I was wide awake, reviewing the “inventory of useless concerns”. By 415 I was still awake. I must have finally snoozed because the 5am alarm woke me up in the midst of a ‘car accident’ dream.

We had arranged to take the 625am shuttle but since we were ready we took the 545 one instead. We had to still get euros and wanted not to rush and worry. Everything went so smoothly.

Mid-flight on our way from Denver to Atlanta: just had breakfast. We’re way at the back of the plane and were among the last 9 passengers to receive food and drink service. We hit a bumpy patch which they had warned us about – a very bumpy patch which delayed the service as the flight attendants hung on for dear life – but finally we got our rations.

 

 

PETROGLYPHS AT CASTLE GARDENS

I love Wyoming, the endless, empty spaces, clear blue sky, antelope, but most of all, I love seeing all the places in Wyoming that my Michael takes me to see. One of the most beautiful, powerful places this summer, has been Castle Gardens. We drove at least a full hour, probably longer, to get to Castle Gardens and I don’t think we saw even one other vehicle. We were in the middle of nowhere.

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When we arrived, Michael commented on the fact that quite a few changes had been made since he was last there. Where a road had been was now fenced off and a gravel path made for people to walk in to the gardens.

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Right away, I was spellbound by the rock formations. Out came the camera and not once did I stop taking pics.

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At one point, as I was snapping away, Mike asked, “Did you see the camel?” Of course I had taken a pic but had not noticed that there was a rock camel in the gardens.

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Just below that, Mike found the first petroglyphs, drawings carved into the stone by the first native americans in the area. It was fascinating.

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The deeper we walked into the gardens, the more I became aware of the power of the place, the energy, the total silence, broken only by the call of birds or the scampering of chipmunks. We walked in silence and at one point, climbed up to a notch in the rocks and just sat, in the silence and power of the place. It reminded me of when I was in the desert in Egypt, also in a place where the ancients had left their marks. It’s a very special sensation, hard to describe.

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This is a place I plan to visit every time we are in Lander, Wyoming.

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