Camino – Day 31
Today was a climbing day. 360 meters in the first 5 kilometers, then a fair bit of up and down for the next 6 or 7 kilometers, and then finishing up with another 100 meters in the last 2 kilometers. It felt good to climb, and I’m glad it was only 14km.
As has been my pattern, the walk began in the dark, about an hour and a half before sunrise. And because the village I was staying in was very rural, it was VERY dark. The stars simply take my breath away every time. This morning, for the first time in many days, I used my headlamp, because the moon is waning and the path was both uphill and uneven. I stopped a lot and turned off my headlamp a lot, just to be immersed in the immensity of the night. And then the sunrise. Oh my!!! I made it to the summit at O Cebreiro in time to pause and just take in the beauty. Sometimes I think I could survive on sunrises alone.
Early this morning, within the first few kilometers, just as the sun was lighting the world, I walked out of the region of Castillo y Leon, and into the region of Galicia, which will take me the rest of the way to Santiago. And almost immediately I began to notice a change of landscape – very agricultural, very hilly, very lush. One of the great treats of walking the Camino has been this experience of walking in and out of varying landscapes, and moving slowly enough to notice.
My first surprise of the day was the village of O Cebreiro. I forget that Celtic culture is found not just in Great Britain, but all through northern Europe. The moment I entered the village it was apparent that I was in an old Celtic town. Which then led me to ponder whether there is a connection between the name of this region (Galicia) and the word “Gaelic.” I haven’t done any research yet, and perhaps it’s just coincidence, but it will not surprise me if it is true.
My next surprise, more unpleasant, but also an opportunity for more personal learning, was noticing my reaction to being in a place so full of tourists. They were loud and they were everywhere. And all I wanted was to leave. I could have ignored that impulse, but I would have ended up cranky. By choosing to listen to what my heart was trying to tell me I had a lovely and peaceful walk in the woods for the rest of the morning. I want to learn to listen to (and honor) my heart more often.
After the final push up one last hill I arrived at Alto do Poio, which is really a wide spot in the road, perched on the edge of a ridge, with a view both east and west that seems to go on forever.
I can’t see Santiago from here, but it’s getting close. I am now about 150km away. I expect to arrive on about October 17. What I notice, as the “destination” draws closer, is that I become more easily distracted by “then” and lose track of my groundedness in “now.” The problem, of course, is that “then” is not actually real. It has no substance. I can’t live there, because there is no “there” there. It is an ongoing learning for me, but I think I might be making progress.
Another day. More beauty. More learning. More walking. More rest. And tomorrow, after a night of rest, I will get up and do it again, in a new and unique way.
Until then, Buen Camino!
Here is a link to today’s photos – https://photos.app.goo.gl/2fe7kjHPyumuw4oZ7