The Seasons too are a Gift

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene

Since our first steps on the Camino we have weathered a variety of terrain and climate, but I did pause a bit when the forecast changed to rain for the next three days. When planning our trip, I had figured that the odds were good and we would avoid rain in late August so I ignored suggestions that waterproof shoes or alternate shoes should be considered. Knowing I called this wrong, I promptly went out and bought a pair of waterproof shoes.

In the wee hours of Monday morning we started our way out of Sarria with Ken and Linda, new pilgrims we had been looking forward to joining us on the trail. Padre Miguel had an injury so he did not walk, but he did help send us on our way. At dinner the night before, Ken and Linda were most impressed by our adventures and our newly acquired Camino skills; unfortunately, before we were 30 minutes on the road, we proceeded to get lost. To be fair, we had walked by the Monasterio de La Magdalena and we got distracted. We were particularly drawn to a beautiful gate that appeared to lead us to the “Way.” It took us about 15 minutes to realize that we had missed the giant yellow arrow on the street, which was the true way to go. While not a major setback, it was a good lesson.

Being a native of So Cal, I admit I prefer sunny weather but the rain brought us different sights, sounds and smells as we moved through the foothills. The sun arrived in just a few hours and we made good progress. It was a milestone day. If you remember when we left Leon we were 311km from Santiago. Now, the marker indicated that we were just within 100 kilometers of our destination. The anticipation of arriving in Santiago is starting to take root and as we near the city the number of pilgrims on the road is steadily growing.

The rest of the day was challenging and incredibly long. My new shoes had become a big problem and my feet were burning with each step. It was particularly difficult when we finally made it to Portomarin and I looked up to see a staircase that reminded me of the Mayan pyramids where people were led to the summit and sacrificed. I sucked it up and got to our hotel but not without a high price. My toes were numb for the 24 hours.

We have really enjoyed the food. It is incredibly reasonable and very good — particularly if you like pork. Despite that, every once in a while you get a craving for something from home so we order burgers and fries and pizza. You can see from the pictures that the Camino is again full of surprises.

Today we walked about seven hours in the rain. I’ll admit I loved it. All in all, the weather was more pleasant than the 100 degrees we had last week, even though at several points the road was entirely flooded and we had to create a new path. We saw new types of trees, burnt forest, and many flowers. A few highlights of the day included a couple braving the Camino with a baby, a shepherd who was delighted that we wanted his picture and a woman selling cheese and tomatoes from her kitchen window for $1.50. It was great cheese and I enjoyed my discussion with her, even though the only words we both understood were “bueno” and “gracias.” In the end, the rain was a gift.

Lessons of the day:
1. Keep your eyes on the road and don’t be deceived. Life will bring you distractions that can send you down the wrong path.

2. Listen to people with experience and never, ever wear new shoes on long days — this also applies to heels!

3. Enjoy the seasons of your life. They, too, are a gift.

4. In and Out still #1.

So far we have taken 412,511 steps on the Camino.

More to come. Annette