Entry 63, January 26th, 2012
Sitting in the Dublin airport, around 7:30am local time. I managed to get some sleep . . . makeshift sleeping locations keep the pilgrim inside of me smiling.
I have been experiencing periods of “fuzzy” as I am living life after the camino. These are interspersed with moments of clarity where I feel like a pilgrim again. I just skimmed through Coelho's book on his pilgrimage and it has left me feeling clear, calm, and fluid.
The clarity is where I want to remain. Fatigue and sickness have me worn down somewhat, as well as being traveling for 11 months. But the camino has left me with a powerful spiritual momentum as well. Peter was right – the way back is just as important as the way there. I wonder if the way back is the secret camino mentioned by Coelho's guide?
But this was not the right camino to walk back. It wasn't the right camino at all, in some ways – I mean, it was exactly the right camino for the moment, but it is not my camino. It was training, the beginning, the test run. My camino lies somewhere more personal to me. It will be a path much like the first part in Cataluña – intense and walked alone.
Although maybe I am wrong. Maybe Santiago became a part of my personal mythology through these experiences. I don't know. I feel the fog returning. I needed to walk the way back, but where would I have walked back to? It is going to take me a while to sort through all of this. I am unsure about the third liminal stage.
The British couldn't do it, but the Irish have sold me on the idea of beans as breakfast food. And I was the only Yankee on a flight of all Irish people last night . . . just as the British accent makes dental visits bearable, the Irish accent makes flying a pleasure.
The one comforting thing about living a life asleep is that you wouldn't notice being asleep.
I must remember that the camino was not a paradise of clarity and the beginner mind – rather, it was usually confusion, frustration, doubt, and fear. There is no reason to expect normal life to be any different.
Kenny Werner says that struggling young musicians keep playing music because either 1. They love doing it, 2. They need to express themselves, or 3. They're afraid not to do it. This is something I need to look inside myself and find the answer to. Although I suppose my actions will answer it for me. Damn, I prayed to have the strength to act despite fear, and it might take me away from the music.
But if it takes me away from the music, I was never that close to begin with.
Just went through US customs! Huge American flag! Big picture of Barack Obama! So excited to be going home. It is about three times more complicated than all of the other customs, but everyone here has been really profession and friendly. Good to have real, green, freedom-loving money in my pocket instead of that Hasbro Euro shit. 'Muhrica!
I love the United States. Sitting on the EL from O'Hare to Union Station, a woman across from me was having a conversation about bidding on a mule via an iPhone. She mentoined Wyoming and so after her call I asked if she knew Pinesdale . . . she does! I need to tell Ryan that I met the fire marschall from Jackson Hole on her way to see the Chicago Symphony perform Carmina Burana.
Midwesterners are friendlier. I didn't notice before leaving for a year, but I have been having conversations with total strangers ever since I landed. This just doesn't happen in Europe.
The Midwest is resplendent with ugly January. I love it. Dead brown trees, dirty snow, cracked pavement, people hunched over in winter coats. It exists under harsh orange streetlamps, visible in fleeting images as Amtrak #354 speeds out of Chicago. It is ugly and I love it. It is the land of the blues.
Our country deserves better, though, especially passenger rail. Nobody does freight rail on the scale we do or as well, but Amtrak sucks. Underfunded and out of date. If the political will doesn't exist to rebuild passenger rail in this country, somebody else should do it. Someone like me.
The railroad narrative is very different between Europe and here. In Europe, the story is of a beautiful symphony of rail lines, curving together in crescendos and decrescendos in a work of art. The fact that trains run on them is secondary. In the USA, though, it is all about the lone locomotive, setting out to do battle with the elements. The traveler conquering the terrain.
Expenses, Day 63
Irish Breakfast: 9.95
Extra Luggage: 50.00
Trip Total: 1574.77