My Camino is over!

Again, it is with my apologies that I begin to update you.  It has been far too long I know but computers are hard to come by!

I finished my walk into Santiago last friday.  The last few days of the trip were hard as I wasn´t feeling up to snuff.  My  walking distance dropped as I was out of gas… but as I didn´t stop, I made it.

I checked into an Old seminary and then went to mass at the cathedral.  They swung the large censor (butofumeria…or something in that ball park).  The service was conducted by the bishop and there were a couple of thousands of people.

I rested in Santiago to see if I might get the feeling that I could do the last 100 kms to the coast, but my cold prevented that… so I joined my friends Lizzy and Louie in their rented car instead.  Finisterra was our first stop, which is the westernmost point of Europe… the name means end of the earth.  Today we went to Muxia, another cape or point sticking out into the ocean (this was the place that Martin Sheen´s character put the ashed of his son into the ocean).  It was very beautiful and rustic.

My last task for my camino was to put some of the ashes of two folk from my parish into that same place!  Their spouses gave the ashes to me and I said I would put them into the ocean… today I did just that.  I said prayers and sung that song from Lord of the rings Into the West!  Here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgcoBKWTW14   (I hope it works if you haven´t heard it)

Something about being asked to take these ashes to Muxia moved me a great deal; the trust that was being placed in me was overwhelming.  Also (and I haven´t figured it out yet) it feels like sometime we as clergy are asked to take people to sacred spaces, holy places… and we ourselves are somehow inadequate for the task at times.  Your feedback on this would be appreciated!

Tomorrow I leave for Porto, Portugal.  I hope to spend some time sightseeing and sitting on the beach… maybe even sightseeing on the beach!  My flight leaves Porto next Monday!

I do look forward to seeing so many of you.  Today I was imagining what it would be like to stand in my church and greet again so many who are important to me… I am looking forward to that day!

I am ready to come home; my Camino is now done!

Blessings to you all from Spain!

Stevie Wonder

If I don´t stop, I will get there!

It has been a while since I put anything on this blog, and for that I apologize!

I am now less than 100 kms to Santiago!  For the last little while I have been struggling with a lung infection and some sore feet (the last problem is shared by everyone, I think).  The only affect is that I am even slower than I was before and I am not putting in the numbers of kilometers I was.  I am still well within my intended schedule so that is not a problem either.

I have been reflecting whilst on the road (when you are walking in the clouds and can only see 25 meters at the most, you do not get distracted by the beautiful scenery).  I realized that the thing about this Camino that I like the most is the walking!  Some say it is the socializing after the days walk, but I have truly appreciated the physical action of walking.  The more I walk, the more contented I feel!  (I will have to find a way to keep exercising that is as enjoyable!)

I have been thinking about my life and how blessed I am!  I am different… I am sometimes awkward socially… but I can now say I am happy the way I am and that I am truly blessed! 

At the Cruz de Ferro, the iron cross, pilgrims leave rocks or symbols; I left a number of things for others, but the only thing I left for myself was a quartz rock I found and it, to me, symbolized that I wanted to leave behind a burden I have carried for far to long.  That burden is: ¨you aren´t good enough¨.  Now I will try to live as if I AM good enough!

The other thing I realized is that the learning of the Camino will take place long after I am home!  Right now this is still a long fricking walk!  Later I hope to be able to reflect on it in a proper way.  Now it is just… get up, walk, clean up, eat and sleep! Then do it over again tomorrow! 

So, again, I am sorry I have not posted!  At the end of the day I am whipped or there is no computer!  Keep me in your thoughts.

I am almost done!  I will be in Santiago by Friday.  I will take a rest day I suspect then head towards the coast; that is 100 kms and will take me another 4 days.

I will be flying home 2 weeks today… I am looking forward to seeing so many of you!

Love… and remember… if you don´t stop,  you WILL get there too!

Stevie Wonder

ps. I got to see Georgina on skype yesterday… she said I looked ¨skinny¨.  No one ever said that about me before.  (I actually am not skinny but I have lost some weight… maybe 20 lbs).  Having her say that made me really emotional in a nice way… (I will have to figure out why I responded so)!

 

I learned the definition of monotonous!

Yesterday I had a short day (20kms) because my heel bruise from the long days was a little troublesome.  Got a hotel room by myself and couldn´t sleep!  (Guess I missed all the snoring and farting)!

Today I walked from Sahagun to Reliegos about 30kms.  The day showed me the definition of monotony.  For 30 kms I walked a stone path beside a highway (one car per hour).  There were millions of trees planted beside the path… all 12 steps or 10 meters apart.  The landscape was “Essex county flat”.  It was boring… and long!  (The mountains are off in the distance and are getting closer!)  There was nothing except ants to look at… so… I thought.

Today I thought about the folks I miss at St. George´s… LL and MM who are with me in the office (I miss you).  I miss the folks who enrich my life there.  I have it “good” in Clarksburg!  See you in a few weeks!  I talked to Tony and Iris and many are asking about me and praying for me… thanks a lot… I doooo appreciate it!

I thought about my kids… you guys are great (all 4 of you).  I miss seeing you too.  Thanks Jamie for arranging a short skype conversation with the Canon!

Most of all I thought about Georgina… Canon George.  I remembered waiting for her at the airport when she finished her camino 9 years ago.  I imagined too what it would be like to have her meet me!  It did bring tears to my eyes a couple of times as I thought about the embrace and I am not ashamed to admit it!

I have much to be grateful for!

I am tired but in good spirits!  I will be in Leon tomorrow, well beyond half way.  I suspect that I will be able to get to Finister and Muxia in my allotted time (I have a sacred duty there for a couple of my grieving friends).  I will soon be at the Iron Cross and will be dropping off a number of things and offering my prayers for many of you!

I am still waiting to find out why I am on this journey!  It still feels like a long walk but I am being faithful to the walk and trust God will be faithful too and will show me why I am here.

I am missing a Collation, an ordination and an Archdeacons residential… be assured that I am thinking of you and sending my “regrets”??

I am tired, happy, missing my loved ones and being as faithful as I can! 

I send my love and assure I know some are thinking of me!

The other day I spoke of my part 4, going on alone… “Manly Stanley” reminded me that I never walk alone!  And that helped in my struggling!

Thanks all.

I wish I could share more but that´s all I can think of and my money is running out on the computer.

Love

Long walking and Leaner… Stevie Wonder

Parts three and now part four!!

Hi all,

When last I wrote I was on my way to meet my brother Pete.  We met just east of Belgardo and walked together for 5 days.  My brother´s knee are in tough shape; he uses his sticks like canes but he walks on bravely!

As you know I had great hopes that our camino together would be a reunion of sorts… well it wasn´t quite what I hoped or expected.  After 5 days of walking with Pete and Jeremy I decided that I needed to go on alone.  I am grateful we tried to journey together, but this is for the best, I think!
Anyway… the last three days have been 31, 35 and today 37 kms… over 100 kms in three days. Wicked tired today as a result but feel good. It was a challenge and I surprised myself and rose to it!

I am now about half way to Santiago. I am pressing on and am finding my joy in the walk.
Love to all
long walking Stevie Wonder

Things are good!

The other day when I wrote… I was regretting the walk ahead… well, for my sins, I am walking this stretch for a second time!

After putting George on a bus to the Madrid airport, I took another one back to Santo Domingo where I left the trail a couple of days before.  From there I walked briskly and with a fair bit of joy!  I have stayed in some decent refugios and met some interesting people while being on my own.

I walked almost all the way back to Burgos; about 50kms I would think.  I frequently stopped early as I am dragging my feet so as to meet my brother.  My brother is now a couple of days behind me.  So because I didn´t like doing half days while waiting, I decided to jump on a bus and go back 40 kms to meet him.  I am now where I was 4 days ago and will walk backwards until I meet him tomorrow.  After that I will get back in the rhythm of getting up and walking 25kms.  There has been too much time to kill in the afternoons and I don´t like that.  Anyway, I am excited about the third stage of my walk.. my walk with my brother and nephew!

Not to divulge anything that is personal, but my brother and I have been estranged for 40 years… not close like we were growing up.  It might have been  sibling rivalry or circumstances and choice, but we have not seen a lot of each other.  In Dec. I told him that I was going to walk the camino and asked if he would like to join me… a few days later he said that he wanted to come…. so here we are… meeting in spain.

I have to tell you I am really excited and thrilled by the ¨”refound” or rediscovered relationship.  Maybe the best thing about my Camino is going to be able to spend time with my brother and getting to know him again!  

(I don´t know how I got bold on the above section… it just happened!  Maybe a good thing!)

Also…

When I wrote last I was having some dreads or worries about the miles ahead without visual stimulation or… something.  Well, it turns out the last few days have been very nice.  I miss George, but walking alone is different.  When I am with her my chief priority is to make sure I am caring for her and protecting her… and trying to cultivate some patience genes!  Now my priorities have changed… I am just on a journey, perhaps of discovery , but not sure what I am going to discover.

The other day I walked a desolate logging road… few people were around and I felt nicely alone.  I remembered members of my family and prayed for them.  I remembered people from my parish and those particularly who asked me to carry things for them to leave at the iron cross or at the ocean.  I prayed for people who wanted to get pregnant (you know who you are… beware)!  For the first time on this trip my prayer felt real… and that was a nice discovery.

I am also thinking  a great deal about faith… but I am going to leave that for another day! Suffice it to say I am making some headway in that department!

Good things are happening!  I am looking forward to even better things happening!

My body is strong and my feet are great… I actually think I might finish this walk, but I don´t want to get ahead of myself.

Finally, I do miss George (Georgina).  We both had a good cry in the bus station before she left!  You know, I actually am starting to believe that she doeslike me!  It only took 31 year or more.  It warmed my heart  a great deal when she wrote of her heart-felt love for me.  It brought tears to my eyes (and still does) to think that someone could love me like that!  That is another reminder that the Camino is giving something important to me… and I am grateful.

So to George, Jamer, LB, Spike and Danny Boy… love you all and think of you!  I am glad you are in my life!

I am having the time of my life and hope you get the chance to do this too, if you want.

Love

Faster walking SW

 

 

The grind has begun!

Much has happened since I wrote on this blog.

I mentioned that we were going to sleep with 100 of our closest friends… we I didn´t and they did not remain on my Christmas card list.  A group of Spaniards were talking in the one room and would not quiet down, even after they were asked.  Then… once they did a couple of them snored like lions!  I didn´t get much sleep that night, I was awake until 2 and up at 5!

George and I commented the next day as we were walking in the rain and heavy hail that it was hard to get back the space that those noisy pilgrims had rented in our heads.  However, we suceeded in letting it go… for the most part.  I have to say that I am now a bit gun-shy of the alberges!  I don´t want to have another night like that!

I also am not looking forward to the landscape before me… the beautiful mountains are 220 kms behind and now I am looking at 2 more weeks of green field after green field.  I think this is were the mind begins to struggle… with the lack of visual interest perhaps!? The constant rain isn´t helping either.

They say that the first 2 weeks are a struggle for the body… I am doing very well!  Not much pain and no blisters.  The 2nd two weeks are going to be more challenging on my mind… I can tell.  The body is strong (and slimmer) but the mind is a little weaker!

As for the Spirit… we will see… I am, at this point, just walking, perhaps something happens later!

Georgina flies back home tomorrow and I will take the bus back to where I ended the walk a day ago.  I will touch base when I can.

I will miss George!  She even said that she might miss me too!

All is… well… going!

Slightly faster walking Stevie Wonder

 

We had a big day today… 30 km plus!

Today we got up very early and began walking by 620 a.m.  We walked over 30 km to Najera.  We are in a donativo… which is the cheapest place… we were too tired to walk all over the town looking for a better place.  We are in a room with 100 of our closest and smelliest friends.  The good thing is we have a bed and, because we are so tired, we will sleep through the snorers… I hope.

George was amazing today.  She just kept grinding out the miles with few breaks.  We feel tired but fine! 

We had a fabulous 60th birthday party for her… she got gifts… and I got the whole restaurant to sing “happy birthday” to her.  They sang and she cried; it was cute.

We are happy and getting slimmer.  I put my belt to the smallest notch, then moved it back one as “I didn´t want to peak too soon”.

All is well!  I will put more pictures up when I can get the right computer to try it!

That´s it for now!

Slow walking Stevie Wonder