Lessons, week 3

Every morning we wake up, pack our bags, and walk about 5 kilometers to coffee.

This is my favorite part of the day: café con leche (y uno más azúcar, por favor).

And if our timing is right, the sun has just started sneaking up into the sky, spreading the creamiest shades of red orange yellow pink purple through the wispy morning clouds.

“This is happiness,” says my Quebec friend, and I have to agree.

———-

I had a semi wine-induced dream about you the other night, and it left me aching, as if I had left you behind only yesterday instead of having barely heard from you in the past month.

The next day, I walked 32 kilometers as a sort of therapy, to process.

I think that just about everyone comes to the Camino because of love. We all have a nicely packaged surface reason—a lacking job, uncertain studies, a thirst for adventure, a desire for religion—but really, the question is always about love.

I have been walking for 20 days now, but I don’t think anyone has found the answer yet.

———-

Time is different in Spain.

I love siesta. There are at least two hours every day, right in the middle of the day, where I must relax—or, at least, there’s literally nothing else to do but relax during that time, because everything is closed. Same on Sundays, all day.

I love that the church bells chime sporadically, and that their ring never exactly matches the actual time.

And I love how especially meaningless time becomes when walking.

There is usually an alarm. 6:00 or 6:30, or 4:30 that one time we wanted to walk in the full moon.

But after that? Nothing.

When I’m walking, I get lost in my mind to the point where I can’t tell if 5 minutes or 50 minutes have gone by.

I sing songs and replay old conversations and listen to the squeak of my backpack and write my bestselling memoir and try to translate my thoughts into the limited Spanish I know and count my steps and try to do the math to figure out how far a kilometer really is (seriously, why is it so hard??)… and then I crest a hill and suddenly the next town is there. Or (more commonly) it’s not, when I am so sure that I probably must have already walked that last 5 kilometers so seriously where the eff is the town already because I might just be ready to fall over from exhaustion…

And then there’s lunch time and shower time and laundry time and then me time. Because there’s actually nothing else for me to do. No deadlines. No commitments. No television. Just time.

———-

The Camino is a test of endurance.

How many kilometers until your feet blister and your shoulders tense?

How many nights of bunk beds and snoring and early curfews and earlier mornings?

How many days of communal showers and hand washing laundry and incessant flies and questionably clean premises?

I forgot my only pair of long pants at the albergue a few nights ago. It was also the pair of pants that I spent too long researching, and too much money on. But really, it was the pair of pants I had worn only twice… and only because everything else I had was being washed.

And so I am choosing patience. I am choosing forgiveness. I am choosing to accept my slightly lighter backpack, and let it go.

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