It was a blustery, stormy day today. The sky moved and changed so fast – billowing dark clouds surged across the sky occasionally breaking apart to reveal the sun before it disappeared again.
Thunder rolled in the distance and the wind carried the soothing scent of the eucalyptus forest.
I cringed as strong gusts plucked nuts from overhanging tree branches and hurled them down all around me. Sporadic rain showers swept over the pastured lands and small streams meandered down the Camino path stirring up dirt along the way.
The hood of my plastic rain poncho rippled against my face sometimes sticking to my wet cheek. With the changing weather patterns, my poncho acted as protection from the beating rain one moment, but became as warm as a humid greenhouse the next.
Sweat trickled down my body and I pulled the rain poncho off over my head. I stuffed it into my pack and wore only my yellow tank and my saturated rain jacket over top.
Tonight in O Pedrouzo, I feel as confused and unsettled as the weather patterns. I can hear the rain beating down on the roof of the albergue in torrents, the wind blowing it in all directions. My emotions are stirring like the dirty storm water running down the path I followed today.
I will reach Santiago tomorrow afternoon – only 20 kilometers left to go.
I am excited, but at the same time so nervous – another important moment. Tomorrow, I will arrive at the pilgrim’s office to collect my compostela. In the movie, “The Way”, I remember they asked the characters their reasons for walking the Camino. When I first decided to do this I wasn’t entirely sure why I felt I needed to. Now I know, but I want to answer that question thoughtfully out of respect for the Camino and the journey I have experienced.
This journey has touched a place in my heart, opened my mind and guided my soul – it has changed me forever. When I began this journey, I knew it would impact me, but didn’t realize how much until now. I am so thankful for that. So much that whenever I’ve had the opportunity to give thanks, I have done so.
Beginning the day I arrived in St. Jean Pied de Port, whenever I have entered a church where candles burned in front of a statue Our Lady holding the child, I have always lit a candle too. Silently I would sit, pray and give thanks for this incredible opportunity.
Even yesterday in Arzua I carried out this ritual. When I saw Our Lady holding the child, I was overcome with emotion. The tears came while I sat in the pews. My sniffles sounded loud in the empty stone church and I retrieved the roll of toilet paper from my pack. The church keeper, the only other person present, sat in a chair against the east wall and smiled kindly as I strapped my pack on and waved goodbye.
When I arrive in Santiago tomorrow I need to register for the Thursday mass, book myself into a hostel for the night and for Thursday night as well, but then what? Originally, I had planned to go to Portugal on the 25th, but now Finisterre is beckoning.
I have contemplated many questions about continuing to Finisterre. For instance, should I walk the 90 kilometers or take the bus? I have been so strict on how I get myself to Santiago, would I be okay with taking the bus to Finisterre? Am I even ready to stop walking yet? Is there something more for me to do here? Can I let go? I’m not sure. These are questions to ask the rock I think. I need some sort of sign.
Along the way, when I have needed a break from thinking, I would listen to my ipod. The lyrics to the song Drive My Soul gave me goosebumps each time I heard it as I walked along the road to Santiago. The walk each day was mostly about contemplating life. The lyrics got me thinking about how I would cope when my journey was all done, when there was no more road to follow. Now, I know the answer to the question, “Who will drive my soul?” The answer is me.
Well, time for some sleep. When you hear from me next I will have reached Santiago.