Wednesday, June 8, 2016. It is June and Neil and I are in Ouray at his log cabin, as we usually are during this time of the summer. We have a new addition, a Golden Retriever Rescue female, six years old, named Kali (a Hindu goddess, apparently) and though we are so sad for her former owners, we are grateful they did “the right thing” when their household split apart, and relinquished her to the local GRRR, who called us nearly immediately. They knew (and they were correct) that she was just perfect for us, and apparently she thinks we are perfect for her as well!
She is still sort of a “velcro”doggie with us, so she’s lying at my feet as I type, but she’s finding her inner wolf as she runs with Neil (well, HE doesn’t run . . . ) through the hills outside the cabin.
I am so often a slug when we’re here, unlike my Camino prep years. I still want to do ONE. MORE. CAMINO. Yes, I’ve said it, though you wouldn’t have known it during the first three weeks of the Camino del Norte, my venture/adventure last autumn. But several things contribute to a former peregrina longing for another shot at The Way.
In no particular order, here are my reasons:
- I was asked by CSUs Osher program to give another talk about my Camino experiences. This is the third time I have done this, and as I prepare for the talk, go through my slides one more time (or twenty more), I am transported back to those hills, the Meseta, the sea views, the cows, of course, sunsets, sunrises, moon rises, albergues, fellow travelers, the enormous and delicious salads . . . etc.
- My dear friend Jeanne (now walking under cover of the name “Jeanneseeo”) is on the Camino Francis as I type this. She has just finished with the Meseta and is about two or three days out of Leon. Reading her adventures, some completely different from mine and some nearly identical, a wave of longing washes over me. She had asked if I might consider meeting her partway and walking for three weeks with her, but I said I couldn’t do it this year.But every time I read one of her posts, I wish I could have Scottie “beam me up” so I could walk a few segments with her. Here she is, standing on the left side front behind the man in the black shirt, with a group of peregrinos at an albergue.
- No matter what my promises to myself, I find that I cannot extricate myself from as much of my “regular life” as I’d like. Yes, I love teaching Cinema du Jour. Yes, I loved my two 6-week sessions of “From Page to Screen”, no matter that it was more work than I ever DREAMED it would be. The participants were fantastic, and signed on for both sessions. But the things one can’t control . . . a family death and memorial service, happy holidays with a houseful of people I love, short travel that I planned, yes, indeed, to New Orleans, Moab (wedding) NYC (plays and plays and plays), Sante Fe (Neil’s birthday), the Black Hills of South Dakota (never been . . . needed to go), keep me in “up” mode, when I really need more “down” mode.
This month at the cabin every year furnishes me with down time, as does my time in Vermont, but there is still nothing like the physical exertion and the mesmerizing emotional/non-thinking state of the Camino de Santiago. A mind flies free on the Camino, no matter whether it carries thoughts of joy or sorrow.
I know I will be back there . . . on the Camino Portugues, on my favorite parts of the Camino Frances and the Del Norte, anything I choose. I have nothing to prove to myself at this point. I will be seventy years old in November, I’ve walked across Spain twice in three years, and I will return, most likely with my friend Ria and my friend Jeanne, each of us walking alone together, soon.