Lessons, week 4

“[She] had been starting to notice, more and more, that meaningful changes didn’t happen when you expected and that you didn’t graduate when everybody claimed you did, with ceremonies and celebrations and moving vans, with diplomas and severed ribbons cut to applause. Those turned out to be nothing more than suggestions. The big changes came mostly at odd, unexpected moments and often in private, delayed or speeded up or beyond the last minutes, during ordinary conversations instead of speeches, half hidden like a mole on the back of someone you mistakenly thought you loved but in fact didn’t, or in sentences you might tune out on another day in another mood in another light, or in all variety of unplanned meetings. And while you were waiting for them to occur things got taken—not just from you but by you, though you hardly noticed until it was over.”

This week we passed the Cruz de Ferro. You’re supposed to bring a stone from home to lay at it’s base to signify your journey, and for many, it’s a huge turning point, a representation of big changes made or soon to come.

I reached it as the sun was rising over the mountains, but left behind nothing… maybe because I’m not quite sure exactly where home is yet.

And I don’t believe that my changes will come at any one cross or church or city. Instead, I see them in the worn tread of my trail runners, in the conversations where I start to refer to you in the past tense, in the days I think I might want to stay here forever.

———-

The Camino is teaching me anticipation.

Every day is like a new crush, born with so much promise and beauty that both reminds you of days past, and makes you forget anything that came before.

And I rush and I dawdle and I fall in love and soak it in.

But the last two or three kilometers—no matter how tired I am—I speed up. Because those steps right before the final destination comes into view, those are the seconds where you can feel it: the giddiness, the excitement, as if an entire town could represent the specialness of your very first kiss.

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