calzada de valdunciel – el cubo de tierra del vino



Day 45: 21 km’s

Today’s reflection: The empty spaces arent so empty after all…….




It was a bit of a tough day today. I spent the day wading through the thick emptiness of a cold, barren winter landscape, trying to feel some kind of physical progression towards a destination that in fact seemed to be moving further away with every step. At first, it was very frustrating. At that moment, walking in that desolate place, never ending straight lines seemed to do nothing except cleave the earth violently from the sky without the relief of offering up other things for my spirit to grasp onto.

Exiting Calzada de Valdunciel under cloudy skies, I confronted the straight line of the camino marching forward into the distance and I will admit it broke me just that little bit inside. Then, in an attempt to fill the surrounding emptiness, more sneaky tears decided to dive out of my eyes. Jesus, there has been a mass exodus of tears on this camino! Here, all I can do is go inside, and seeing that I have now walked over 1000 km’s, my emotional landscapes are beginning to feel like a three ringed circus where I’ve seen all the acts and I know all the jokes. I’m bored. I’m lonely. I hate this fucking place right now. I hate those pesky tears for the confusion they  eing me. I detest the stony ground of this part of the camino. I am tired………Where are the new clowns? I need some distraction. Still, everywhere I look there are only straight lines that seem to go nowhere.

Thank god for music…..

Persistently putting one foot in front of the other, because at this point there is no choice, I wonder how this place might be in other seasons, when these empty fields are bursting with crops? Or when the harvest is happening? Or when multitudes of springtime pilgrims are passing through? What is it like to actually live in this place, under brutally cold grey skies on days like today? What kind of person can grow from the soil of this desolation, this harshness? How does one react against this emptiness, fill this emptiness, day after day?

As a pilgrim, all I can do in spaces like this is experience the footsteps, the affect, and the thoughts that emerge through the emptiness. On this winter walk, I have found that the emptier the place the more easily I am able to fill it with what I carry inside. The beauty of a day of walking (like today) is that the emptiness draws everything out, and, like a mirror, makes it that little bit more visible to me. The places that I thought were empty, aren’t so empty after all.





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