Sunday, September 1, 2013

Badges of Heros

Last night we joined 32 other peregrinos and called Puerta de Najera - a private albergue - home for the night. Although we got into town early the albergue was filling up quickly. Instead of a standard dormitory of 12 or more we opted for a smaller room of 4 peregrinos. Our roommates were Brendan - a young fellow from Australia who is walking only a part of the Camino due to time limitations - and Kat - a 30ish (sorry Kat you never mentioned your age) young lady form California moving to Arkansas. Kat is on her third visit to the Camino with intentions of completing the walk all the way to Santiago this time. One thing that the four of us had in common were our "war" injuries - the three of us coping with blisters and Arlene with a sore knee from a slight (we hope) injury to her knee. Kat determined that we probably have an inherited genetic defect we can blame on our ancestors since we probably don't rotate our feet correctly when walking. And all along my sister Dee has been blaming bad shoes.

   A Pilgrim's Best Friend - Compeed is Very Popular in Spain and The Go To Treatment For Blisters

I was going to show you my blister - but then I thought you might be eating while reading this and I didn't want to upset your stomach.  Blisters are not the only issue to contend with on the Camino - besides the long and difficult up hills and treacherous down hills with boulders that roll under foot - there are the ruts and nooks and crannies that tend to throw one off balance - thus the need for - at a minimum - a walking staff - or better yet a pair of trekking poles.  Those on bicycles have their own issues to contend with - balance issues on the rolling rocky surfaces and butt blisters. This morning we met a lady from Colorado when we stopped for breakfast - she told us about a woman who had a bad fall in the Pyreenes and tore two of her toe nails off - wow! That must have hurt. 

Thank God for community - especially for the peregino community - when you see another person with a back pack and trekking poles in this area - you know immediately that you are connected by a common goal.  So far we have met a lot of very nice pilgrims - many with similar issues coping with surprises.  This morning we decided to jump ahead to a larger city to take a few more rest days.  The one rest day I took was not enough and I started walking too soon - mostly because of my impatience. The need for me to rest my foot for additional days and Alene's knee injurgy was apparent enough so we headed to the bus stop where we ran into a friendly couple from the Netherlands - Jan and Lydia who are doing the Camino using electric bicycles.  Unfortunately the battery on the one cycle was not charging properly so they were busing ahead to Burgos to wait for a new battery to be sent to them. Buros is a large city with interesting sites to see - so we decided that is where we would jump to also.

                                                   Lydia With Her Bicycle

                                               Jan's Sick Bicycle - Folded In Half

After helping them load their bicycles on the bus we road with them and a bus half full with other peregrinos -  also jumping ahead for various reaons. A lady from Canada with a foot problem who need a few days rest like me - another fellow who was suffering from exhaustion and more. One thing for sure - walking the Camino is not as easy as many play it up to be.  Everyone walking wears a hero's badge - a scrape here or there - a blister unseen - a tired and weary expression - a funny looking bicycle that folds in half.  Almost everyone has a scalloped sea shell dangling off the back of their pack - whatever the badge is - no matter the color or language - they all say the same thing - I am here trying - that is all I can do - no more - no less.

Buen Camino
Dale and Arlene

1 comment:

  1. Excellent entry, Dad. In my opinion, journeys that do not present unforeseen challenges aren't really journeys; they are errands, they are mundane. To me, journeys only become journeys when challenges are encountered ... and with challenge comes unpredictable outcomes. In the hero's journey, while the goal may be pre-determined, the means to the goal is not and will vary from one hero to another. I honor the both of you for your choices. Sometimes, the hero's best choice is to recognize a momentary need for help, or recovery, or just to remind him/herself that he/she is mortal.

    To acknowledge one's mortality, in my opinion, is to enable one to appreciate that which is in front of one in the moment ...

    Blessings and love for your courage and persistence!