Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Camino Entry 63

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
Total: 59.95

Trip Total: 1574.77

Camino Entry 62

Entry 62, January 25th, 2012

Went for a late paella lunch today with the three Brazilians. It was delicious, and we sat in view of the beach . . . what a good way to say goodbye to Barcelona, Spain, and Europe in general. I can't believe I have been here for nine months, and that I'm finally leaving!

Expenses, Day 62
Excellent farewell lunch: 35.00
Bus to Airport: 5.30
Total: 40.30

Trip Total: 1514.82

Camino Entry 61

Entry 61, January 24th, 2012

Ah. It is good to be back in Barcelona. I am at La Pallaresa right now with chocolate and churros.

The hostal is filled of Brazilians and Australians, as usual. There was one particularly vivacious and beautiful Brazilian girl named Marcella who wants to walk the camino but keeps putting it off . . . I gave her one of my yellow arrows as a good luck charm. Maybe this is a violation of the rules, maybe I only did it because she was beautiful – fuck it, I did it and it was good.

She also knows Clifford Brown, so I should give myself a little more credit. They wanted to hear me play . . . I let myself be convinced, and I played Stardust despite being two months out of shape. The trumpet has not felt that strange in a long, long time. Not only am I weak, but it feels alien on my face. Weird.

Afterward she and a Brazilian guy who plays guitar gave me some Brazilian artists to check out. We'll play again tonight I hope.

Still sick as a dog. Time to run some errands.

Expenses, Day 61
Chocolate con churros: 4.30
Equipment for trip home: 18.00
New netbook charger + adapter: 50.00
Total: 72.30
Trip Total: 1474.52

Camino Entry 60

Entry 60, January 23rd, 2012

I'm not sure which is more amazing – that I walked from Barcelona to Santiago in 51 days, or that I traveled from Santiago to Barcelona in an hour and twenty minutes the other way. Woke up at 6am, was in Barcelona by 11. Shit.

One of the other guests at the albergue was kind enough to wake me up, as I have no alarm clock. They start today to Finisterra and are so excited they were up till 3am. I'm happy to see other pilgrims starting a journey.

Packing my carry on, I realized that I have become one of those people that everyone else mentions to their family when they travel. My carry on is a plastic shopping bag containing only a collection of shells wrapped in a towel and a battered copy of the Tao te Ching. This, along with the floppy hat and patches of beard, is how the nice Galician tourism survey girl knew I was a pilgrim.

I feel like a spy in a foreign land. My insides are those of a pilgrim (I hope that never changes) and I feel a total disconnect from the concerns of those around me. It feels good. Those three days back from Finisterra were well spent.

While talking with Simon I realized what my next quest will be. I want to find someone enlightened, someone who has figured “it” out. I don't really have any questions for them, I just want to see if it can be done.

Expenses, Day 60
Bus to Airport: 3.00
Bus from Airport: 5.30
Sant Jordi Hostal (2 days): 32.80
Groceries: 17.06
Metro Tickets: 8.00
Total: 66.16

Trip Total: 1402.22

Camino Entry 59

Entry 59, January 22nd, 2012

Beautiful, wonderful weather today. Like the first days of spring in Michigan, when no one can pay attention in class.

Definitely sick again. I felt the first symptoms of a head cold two nights ago, and today it has settled in with full force.

I'm having lunch at a little roadside restaurant where I did the same on my way out. Sunday it is full of families. It reminds me of Flap Jack's or the Robin's Nest. All my thoughts are of home.

The wind here is very sweet, but no wind is as sweet as the one that blows over your homeland.

I arrived at the cathedral again and could feel my camino end. It is time to assume the camouflage of the masses again, but I know that inside I will remain outside of that world, and happy to be so.

In other words, time to shave.

I still feel a bit lost as to what comes next, but that's okay. I will follow my enthusiasm. The camino has not taught me what to do, but it has taught me how to do it.

Gotta find an alarm clock . . .

Expenses, Day 59

Lunch: 5.30
Albergue + laundry: 16.00
Internet: 3.00
Donation: 3.00
Total: 27.30

Trip Total: 1336.06

Camino Entry 58

Entry 58, January 21st, 2012

I've been lost twice today and it's only lunchtime. The signs do not work nearly as well in reverse. It's okay, though, I have dad's luck in wandering. I think I found the old camino at one point . . . I was following markers, but the road was only ruts and they were all covered in vines. I don't remember crossing the mountain that way, either.

The ancient old lady running this bar is looking at me like I'm crazy. Which I suppose I am. I am the only customer.

I probably look more like Arno right now that I do like normal people. He spoke about his relationship with the city . . . when he was in silence for six months, he would come by the church to get fresh water from a spigot. No begging or anything, but even then the people coming out of mass would not make eye contact with him. “What were they talking about in there?” wonders Arno. Sometimes the priest comes by Arno's chapel, driving his BMW . . . the thing reads like something out of a Sunday school textbook.

Alright. Time to go.


I met another American! His name is Simon, he's from NYC, and he walked from Sarria. He's 32 and lives very fast – lots of traveling. He is trying to do Lisbon and Madrid in the two days after Finisterra . . . I don't know if he will need an extra day or not, he has a double layer blister just like the Spanish guy that the Master told to go to a hospial.

Got lost a third time, this time for six or seven kilometers. Pressed on, found the camino. It was a long day. The marker says 67km from Finisterra . . . pretty good for two days' work.

When Simon asked about the camino to Finisterra at the pilgrim office in Santiago, the man was insulted. “That's a pagan route; we don't have any information on that here!” How 12th century of him . . . fascinating, especially since the pagan routes predate the death of St. James.

Today's realization – I cannot make anyone happy. I do not know what would make them happy, and I do not have the power to realize it. So, I release myself from the obligation to make myself happy as well, because emotions are like the weather.

Instead, I assume two new obligations. First, to love everyone instead of trying to make them happy. Simple, but not easy. Second, to live in harmony with myself, instead of trying to be happy. Again, simple, but not easy.

I am accumulating bug bites all over my body. I worry that my sleeping bag is infested. Also, my left big toe is a little swollen and numb on one side. My right ankle wore through the sock today and began rubbing. I am starting to wear out – time for a rest soon.

Expenses, Day 58
Breakfast: 3.50
Internet: .50
Lunch: 4.20
Dinner Provision: 8.00
Albergue (Negreira): 5.00
Total: 21.20
Trip Total: 1308.76

Also important: the best way I can love others is to know myself, so that I can be truthful and genuine with them. Or at least that would be a good start.

Camino Entry 57

Entry 57, January 20th, 2012

Wet and rainy all day as soon as I got inland . . . welcome to Galicia. I barely made it to Olveira . . . it was solid night as I walked into the city. This is probably because I dwadled on the long beach outside of Finisterra.

I know now why the symbol of the camino is the shell. The beach at Finisterra is covered in them! Thousands, no, tens of thousands. Some of them are larger than my hand. I picked up several for gifts, and to decorate my pack (finally) with a visible sign of pilgrimage. Must wait till after flying, though – no way a shell survives baggage handling.

Then I said goodbye to the ocean. I wet my fingers in a wave and pressed them to my lips. I could taste the salt, and a little stayed in my beard and trickled down my arm. Goodbye, ocean. I will live by you someday.

Ran the gamut of emotions on the trail today, same as always. Part of me is very frustrated to walk back. I think maybe I will not need to walk in the USA on my way home – perhaps my journey has been long and strange enough not to need the trip back Peter speaks of. Has this whole eleven months been a pilgrimage of sorts?

Passed my own footprints today. Now that is a spooky feeling.

In the albergue here in Olveira there is a woman from Valencia and two Germans (Mar, David, and and Sebastian, respectively). They walked with Frank, Ernesto, and Chan Hee! And Ursula! Everybody made it! I am so happy to hear it . . . this means that Jay and I are the only ones of that group from Puenta la Reina still walking. Last I heard he was in León. I told them to visit Arno.

Expenses, Day 57
Coffee: 1.50
Provision: 1.00
Lunch: 9.00
Internet: 1.00
Dinner: 1.00
Albergue: 5.00
Total: 18.50
Trip Total: 1287.56

Camino Entry 56

Entry 56, January 19th, 2012

The hospitalero here is a man named Peter. I think it is fitting, when the camino is really a metaphor life as a whole, that the end of it is guarded by a man named Peter (St. Peter?). He was building a small model of the Titanic when I came in, and we fell to talking about many things.

The Camino Frances is not the original camino, and it didn't always end in Santiago. Peter spoke of a “way of the stars,” where people followed the milky way West to the ocean, probably ending in Muxia. I actually walked part of the original path on the Camino Aragones. The guardians used the medieval pilgrimage to St. James to obscure the path and keep it hidden, but it has existed since perhaps as far back as the last ice age.

Peter expressed disgust at the commercialization of the camino. “The Camino Frances is a joke – you're lucky you went in winter.” He thinks that perhaps one true pilgrim arrives daily. I'm not sure that I agree, because I am fairly certain that an important of being a pilgrim is not judging anyone's camino as more or less relevant than your own, whatever the reason or distance.

But I do agree with what he said next. “People don't realize how important the way home is. They get here, happy in themselves, and then their faces fall and they tell me 'Now I have to go home.' That's why we have camino junkies. They come again and again, but they never go home and so they never have that time to practice and nurture the thing they get by getting here.”

Here am I, at the end of my camino, only to discover that I have so much further to go.

I went to bed troubled last night. What Peter says is true --- I can feel how fragile this true self is. The medieval pilgrim spent some days here, and then picked up his bag again and started the long walk home. Do I need to do the same? Another fifty days on the road? I did not sleep well.

Wan Woo and I walked out to the cape this morning. The sun was rising as we covered the last three kilometers; I felt as thought I had discovered a paradise at the end of the my journey. The shoulders of the road were covered in dewy green grass and lilac wildflowers. A soft spring breeze brought the scent of pine down off the mountain, and golden fingers of sunlight stretched through the clouds to paint the sea below. The only things to be heard were the birds in the trees and the waves smashing against the cliffs below.

We reached the point, and the 0.0km marker. It is a jumble of loose stone, shrubs, and tall grasses, slanting more and more until finally jagged slabs of granite tumble into the ocean below, like the edge of a world still under construction. We sat for a while, thinking our own thoughts. Wan Woo tossed his sticks into the ocean, and then said farewell. The last of my companions to depart! Although Marten is still around here somewhere.

I sat for a while longer. Ate some lunch, and then built a little spot for my gifts. I took the pole Ernesto gave me and drove it, upright, into the Earth, placing a pile of rocks around the base to keep it from falling. Then I hung the compass lanyard from the nice guy in Catalonia who showed me the path when I was lost. From that I hung the wire sculpture that Kwang-sik made for me on Christmas. I think it is a trumpet. From that I hung the tiny pair of porcelain shoes labeled “Holland” that I found in Galicia on the camino. I can only assume that the pilgrim who lost them would have wanted them to come here.

Perhaps this will all be thrown in a dumpster next week. That's not important to me.

Afterward I climbed down the rocks as far as I dared. The thunder of the sea is intense – huge Atlantic rolled smashing into the sheer cliffs, over and over again. Some of the foam is still brown and sticky from a tanker spill ten years ago.

I stared back. “From here on,” I thought, “every step I take is a step towards home.” This thought helped, but I was still troubled.

On the way back, I spotted a bit of color up on the hillside. There was a path; I took it. It was the old municipal pumping station – except every available surface had been painted. Images of Christ, long scrolls of ornate text, huge symbols I didn't understand. A garden had been planted on the roof of one building, and there were wooden structures and stone cairns everywhere. I walked up to the largest structure and knocked four times with my remaining walking stick (the wooden one Cleber found the day after Christmas in Ages).

There was a bit of rustling. A dog came out first, and then a man, blinking in the bright sunlight. He was middle aged, mostly unshaven, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and old boots with one improvised shoelace. We exchanged a few words in Spanish before he realized how inept I am and switched to excellent English.

The man's name is Arno. He is from Normandy (although Peter later said that he was from Belgium) and walked the camino several times before settling here. At first, it was a retreat – he asked the mayor of Finisterra is he could stay there for six months during his vow of silence. In exchange, he would fix the place up. That was five years ago – now he is building a chapel.

We spoke of many things as well. I told him my story, and how now I didn't know the way home. He told me two very important things. First it is normal to feel lost at Finisterra. In fact, this is good. “It is a good place to be lost,” he said. And second, the way to keep the camino alive in your soul is to give. “So many people come and take. Then they leave, but they do not give. This is why the camino leaves their hearts – they do not give it to others.”

He told a story of a Peruvian girl he met in León. She was young, only 17, and from the slums. Every day she walked very fast, and every night she talked about the slum back home where she was from. Finally he asked her, “Why are you in such a hurry?” Why not slow down and enjoy the camino?” She answered, “Because I must get home and give this to the others. To show them that there is something else, something good.”

He also knew of the way of the stars, and was saddened by the corruption of the camino. “Finisterra – the city without laws, they call it. Like all holy places, there are many demons at work here.” he said that the pilgrims in winter are to his liking – slower and more introspective.

On his advice, I climbed the mountain. He gave me some water first, from a big white jar. I asked him, “can I give you anything? Some bread?” I could tell from his eyes that he did not need bread. “Some chocolate?” At this he lit up – it was a most welcome gift. I did not mind giving it at all.

So I still do not know the way back. Arno's girlfriend, a woman from South Korea, stayed two months over her visa and no one cared. Perhaps this is an option. I will at least walk back to Santiago . . . but mine was a strange pilgrimage. I did not start from home, I started from where I was. To walk back to Barcelona would make no sense. I must keep thinking.

Thank you Peter. And thank you, Arno. Best of luck to both of you.

Expenses, Day 56
Pastry: .90
Albergue: 15.00
Dinner + Provisions: 6.50
Total: 22.40

Trip total: 1269.06

Camino Entry 55

Entry 55, January 18th, 2012

A very interesting albergue last night. The beds, kitchen, and other facilities were all scattered between three different buildings. One was an old bakery, and another used to be a granary I think. They had all been beautifully converted. Nice and warm upstairs in the old granary.

There was also a good example of a very Galician structure nearby. A small, long, narrow building, with a pointed roof and latticed sides. It sits on a series of pillars above the ground, each of which has a wide protruding lip around the top. A set of stairs, separate from the building, may rise halfway to the door, but no further. They are small storehouses called horreos, built for keeping rodents and the damp away from corn and such (take what you will from this about the size and resourcefulness of Galicia's rats). They dot the landscape everywhere, in various states of decoration and repair.

Expenses, Day 55

Breakfast: 3.50
Lunch: 5.50
Coffee: 1.50
Pastry: .90
Total: 11.40
Trip Total: 1246.66

Graffiti on the back of a road sign:

Hi buddy,
I hope that “to be real” became true, and that the anger got no more food. Finisterra ist nur das ende einer etappe. The real camino goes on. And you are not alone. Be blessed,
-your friend, Glen 6/8/2011”

I found the ocean.

The bathroom stall door in the municipal albergue here in Finisterra is one of the most magnificent examples of graffiti I have ever seen. Every square inch of the thing is covered, in every language that you can imagine. I don't recognize them all, or even half. My favorite is this:

This is not the end. Do not be afraid.”

I have reached the end of my camino only to discover that it is not the end. More to follow.

Camino Entry 54

Entry 54, January 17th, 2012

Expenses, Day 54
Coffee: 1.30
Albergue: 5.00
Provisions for Dinner: 5.60
Internet: .50
Total: 12.40
Trip Total: 1235.26

Good weather today. 35Km still feels like a lot. Wan Woo is with me. Ocean tomorrow.

Made pasta for dinner. The tiny supermarket (three shelves in the private albergue nearby) had no sauce, so I was stuck. Eventually I made a sauce using a bit of garlic left in the kitchen, a can of peas from the store, and seven butter packets I bought yesterday for my bread! It was decent, surprisingly. That or my standards have been permanently lowered. The true Peregrino Menú returns!

Camino Entry 53

Entry 53, January 16th, 2012

Expenses, Day 53
Provision: 2.22
Provision: .55
Pastry: 1.90
Chocolate con Churros: 3.75
Lunch: 7.10
Dinner + Breakfast Provisions: 8.44
Albergue (Negreira): 5.00
Total: 28.96
Trip Total: 1222.86

It is good to be on the road again. I take fierce enjoyment in being a pilgrim among others. Everyone is rushing to work, worried and preoccupied. I alone am smiling, strong and present. Some definite swagger among the troops now that I've reached Santiago.

Camino Entry 52

Entry 52, January 15th, 2012

New day, new fear to overcome.

I am afraid that I will relapse and forget everything that I learned from the camino. That I will settle back into the old grooves and loose the calm, happy, strong feeling I have had for the past several weeks.

I woke up wanting to check my email. A compulsion. It is a way of avoiding life, just like overeating or whatever other habits we have. There is no need to check my email more than once a day, or at all as the past 50 days have shown.

And the solution is not rigid self-discipline. It is not a strict anti-internet regime. What is is instead is asking what I am trying to avoid. It is remaining present in the moment. Internet is food for the mind – and so I must ask my mind just as I ask my body: “What do you need? I will give you what you need, but I will do it while remaining present in the moment and without using it to escape reality.”

Because there is a lot to do in the moment! I don't want to miss anything, or spend my time asleep. This is the heart of my second lesson from the camino – be present in and content with the present instead of living in the future or the past.

So I don't want to backslide, and the meaningful path is the path of action. In the last notebook I wrote a few lists, but they were not the right lists. What I need is a list of my dreams. So, I will spend today filling the next two pages with dreams. Whether or not I am happy is a function of how I achieve those dreams.

Expenses, Day 52

Breakfast: 2.50
Tea at Cafe Casino: 2.40
Postcards + Ornament: 3.35
Internet: 2.50
Total: 10.75
Trip Total: 1193.90

We said goodbye to the Master after tea at Cafe Casino. Last I saw him he had just followed the first yellow arrow away from the cathedral plaza. A strong, faithful man. Suerte, amigo.

Wan Woo had stayed in a Korean hostal in Paris for one night. While he was there, he heard of a hotel in Santiago that feed breakfast, lunch, or dinner to the first ten pilgrims who show up. It's the old pilgrim hospital, founded by Queen Isabella, and so they maintain the tradition.

Which is how I found myself standing in a parking garage in Santiago with Won Woo, Kwang-sik, two Frenchmen who just finished the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon, and two more Koreans who walked from St. Jean Pied-de-Port for their honeymoon. Sure enough, at noon a smiling doorman walked in out of the rain, took a quick headcount, and gave us directions and a slip of paper.

The hospital looks out over the cathedral plaza and has been turned into a five star hotel and conference center. True to their original purpose, though, they continue feeding the first ten pilgrims for free. This is typical of the camino – an opportunity for great food, transmitted only by word of mouth. Just like the arrows, it is amazing what you see when you know what to look for.

The hospital was established by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1501 after they made the pilgrimage to Santiago and discovered the insufficient facilities there. It was totally autonomous, run by an administrator who answered only to the king and the pope. It has a central chapel and four courtyards, each named for one of the gospels.


I'm back at the cathedral again, nestled up to one of the pillars like to a tree in a field. It is amazing how much easier a music is to understand when you hear it made in the place it belongs – just as organ music is perfect for cathedrals, Austria is perfect for Beethoven, and Baker's Keyboard Lounge is perfect for bebop.

The profile of the pillars alternates front to back. There are two designs: (see notebook). Pretty clear what the theme is.

What the cathedral here is, is the oldest one I've seen. The relics of Santiago were buried here in 44AD. They lay hidden until the 900's, when they were discovered. The cathedral is almost 800 years old. Romanesque in style, the building houses a huge golden platform and canopy over the altar and main chapel, in the highest baroque style. A huge incense burner swings over the altar and up towards either end of the short arms of the floorplan. It is called a Botafumiero and was originally installed to counteract the stench of sweaty massed pilgrims. From what I know of pilgrims, this is something still necessary in summer months.

A long iron container on one of the pillars is traditionally known to hold Santiago's staff. I like the cathedral more now than I did at first. The front facade is a massive stepped affair, like the ziggurauts or Machu Pichu. The stone is in about the same condition. It is a friendly cathedral, having welcomed millions of pilgrims. Daniel smiles from the facade. I wonder how many feet it takes to wear the stone steps up to the image of St. James so deeply.

It is traditional to climb the stairs and embrace the image. I have him a good hug this time, today, as I felt so happy and open.

This morning I was worried that I would lose the camino in my heart. Now, after revisiting the cathedral, I am not worried. For one thing, the camino never really ends. I will be a pilgrim the rest of my life. And second, after experiencing such great joy as when I arrived in Santiago, that part of me is changed. That joy will remain with me always, and it can come back whenever I let it.

Wandering the cathedral today, I realized that there are layers of history and subtlety here that I have only begun to absorb. I have introduced something ancient and powerful into my self without really knowing what the consequences will be. Unseen to my inner eye; great changes have taken place beneath the surface. I have only just begun to find out what those changes are. I feel powerful but in a state of flux. Everything inside is unpinned and sorting itself out. I had no idea how powerful the camino was while I was walking it. In fact, in a lot of ways I can barely believe that I did.

Maybe that's what this flux is. The shock of putting on my own life again after stepping out of it for so long.

But why step into it again? No need to. There is so much to think about on the way to Finisterra.

Other pilgrims were coming into the cathedral today, footsore and limping. I feel like a grizzled, tough veteran. The Camino Frances is just long enough to really break you down – my extra time has left me tough. My calves feel like steel and I have the ass of a Greek god.


That's what it is. I feel empty. Like a white orb. I have done this and that and the other thing but now I feel totally empty and void of form. Naked is a better word. I exist only as potential, not as kinetic energy. A stone balanced atop a hill; which way will I roll?

Tomorrow feels like I am starting the Camino over from Day 1. Like I feel like taking a little walk to clear my mind. Except now, my mind is a clear void already – I walk to enjoy, and to play with some structures before letting them fall back into blank white potential.

That is keeping the Camino in my heart. Remaining empty, accepting of whatever may come next. It feels odd. Is this zen?

I should like to see the ocean.

Kwang-sik departs.