Day 52: 40.5 km’s
Today’s reflection: Wolves and numbers
This is the first time I have walked this number of kilometres. Today I found that having a mind as clear as possible from self-defeating perceptions of long distances really helps – so much is in the mind…….as is the value attached to the number of kilometres that I have walked to this point. I is sobering to remember that these footsteps today and previous to today are just a continuation of all the footsteps taken before, and they will be the continually emerging ground on which I build future steps. Reflecting on numbers and understanding this point relieves me of the suffering of endings. Now, I feel myself approaching Santiago and I am beginning to interrogate how I feel about this particular “ending”. I am pleased to report that I have come to the conclusion that suffering is extra bullshit, and I am not interested in those kinds of extras right now.
So, in this spirit I walked through abundant winter forests, and down winding paths carpeted with soft brown leaves that led me towards, into, and away from ten different towns. Three coffees, one berocca with guarana, ibuprofen gel, a coke zero, a bocadillo de lomo y pimientos, a conversation with jen, a litre or so of water, a chat with jose, a positive mind -these are the things that helped me enjoy the walk today. Another memorable part of the day was the interaction with Maruja, an elderly woman I encountered in one of the ten towns……she started talking to me about wolves, not just the four legged types. I realised from what she said that there are in fact many wolves around these parts. Once they were culled almost to the point of extinction (near Lubián there is still an old wolf trap on the outskirts of town). But, having been deemed a protected species, the population of wolves in this region has eventually managed to regenerate. Some of what Maruja said about wolves also resonated with things my mother and grandmother have said, with fairytales, shadow figures…..Maruja also told me a thoroughly unpleasant and incredibly visceral story about her abusive father, one that definitely explained her fear of the big bad wolf. Poor thing.
On the whole, a wonderful day. I walked from sunrise to sunset, and it was incredibly satisfying to arrive to Puebla de Sanabria after a long day of wandering past numbers and wolves, under winter skies and over winter ground. Into a bathtub and then into a warm bed with white sheets and blanket……
p.s it was DAMNED cold today!
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