soft mists cloak the mountains as we walk up into los hospitales. i know, as we set off, that the day will be long and quite possibly hard, but nothing can prepare me for the gifts that this day will bring. divine views, up and up into endless blue skies. it doesn’t matter what the weather brings, i walk in the comforting understanding that it is all beautiful. i feel the elements accompanying me as i walk. the morning sun warms me, gives me light, and as i stop to contemplate the gentle white mists that blanket the lower levels of the mountain, i feel myself looking down on them with the ability to contemplate from above, from a perspective of clarity and understanding.
the landscape presents me with tight, steep, stony slopes that need to be walked. one foot in front of the other and all can be achieved. this understanding is within my comfort zone as it was the one great learning from my doctorate. there is no possible or impossible, only limits established by the mind and her mental constructions, more often than not placed there by others, by careless words and actions, by my own lack of perspective. i feel my body, my knee, twinges of pain. how do i step to avoid the pain? what can i do? stop. breathe. take breaks. these breaks are opportunities for communion with fellow pilgrims and again i swim in the feeling of oneness, togetherness, as we all march towards a common goal.
i need light to see, so the sun shines. when it gets too hot, clouds move overhead, offering cool breezes the opportunity to be felt. i feel them like cool kisses on my skin, and in those minutes my steps are lightened, everything becomes easier, respite appears. up and down, brutal slopes, delicious views. views of myself, of my capacity for happiness and love. how can i love? i want to love. love is endless. there is no finite amount. it is endless because when i give love, i receive it in return because to truly love the other is to love yourself. this land captivates me. descents. watch your step and listen to your body. go carefully into the spaces beneath, always with love, respect. c, i love you. i cannot wait to see you, but i can wait to see you. can you understand this? does this make sense? i wonder if you feel the same way as me. does it even matter? i feel these questions as emotions and value them for what they are, not what they might bring me in return. this is unconditional. the same way that my walking is unconditional. to the camino i say i love you no matter what you bring me. i accept it with gratitude and as i traverse different experiences, they become my prayers to acceptance, to positivity, to love without conditions.
los hospitales is a beautiful path to walk for its wildness and its disconnection from the comforts that we feel we might need to walk. i carry my food and water on my back. after one o’clock, the sun is hitting hard when i walk into the first town (lago) that has a bar where i can get water. the water hits my mouth and i groan in deep pleasure as i gulp it down, feeling its’ life course into my body. pleasure, deep pleasure. the diet coke i drink after that is the best i’ve had in my life. simple. beautiful. heat still inside my body, i begin to hear thunder rolling amongst dark clouds that are moving overhead. setting off, the first fat drops of rain begin to fall. i cover my backpack, but decide to pass on the rain jacket. i am remembering, through my body, my childlike love for storms. i am begging the clouds to release. for juicy rain to fall on my skin, to feel those drops washing me clean. walking into a nearby forest, it begins to rain in earnest, and i am a child walking in the rain, with purpose, as i put one foot in front of the other, feeling the exquisite pleasure of the water in my hair, soaking my clothes through, cooling me down, evaporating the heat from the afternoon. this gift from the sky brings me energy, refreshes me. the smell of damp earth and wet leaves refreshes my mind and all my senses, leaving me with the sensation that i could walk another 20 kilometres…..
walking into berduceda, the stop for the evening, i see my companions from a couple of days ago. patricia, jeremiah, the canadian couple, the four valencianos. i am so happy to see them, all i want to do is have a shower a spend time with them. in the end i spend a lovely evening in the local bar, we drink a beer, swap stories and laugh a lot. this is what life is all about. accepting the gifts given. seeing beauty in all. sharing. the perfect day…….