I’ve always been a walker.
In school days before cars and drivers licenses, I’d walk for miles. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. There were only a couple of girlfriends who were really up for the distance.
I recall a walk through suburban streets with a close friend around the age of 14. Our footsteps stirred philosophy and metaphors as we began to liken life to the road. Sometimes there were crossroads, sometimes detours. As we walked the road of life there would be days of easy streets and rough patches with plenty of potholes.
The walk that day was vivid. The black asphalt beneath my white Keds. The olive trees and tidy pansies bordering short-trimmed lawns. The goose-bump feeling of discovering a key to unlock one of life’s great secrets. Life was a journey!
I was 29 years old when I began to read about The Camino. The ancient pilgrimage path that runs through Northern Spain fascinated me. I decided that I would walk the distance. El Camino de Santiago would be my next adventure. Or so I thought…
That same year I conceived a child and embarked on an adventure with no airfare required. Books on the Camino were traded for “Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years.” I had come to one of those forks in Life’s road and the greatest journey of my life began.
The pilgrimage still beckons. Over the years it’s been small whispers that remind me of a calling. But since last week’s ultrasound report, that path through a foreign land has come front and center. Maybe it’s a case of the cliched ‘bucket list’ surfacing on cue when a health issue arises. That big endeavor shelved for later takes center stage with a leap, exclaiming “Carpe diem!”
Or maybe these fantasies of cobblestone streets, rolling hills and Spanish train stations are merely fantastical reprieves from the reality of second opinions and potential medical bills.
Regardless of why I’m dreaming, there’s a sense I’ve been on that Spanish path before – that one day I’ll go again. Was I a pilgrim in another life beneath the Milky Way? I don’t understand what pulls me toward the Basque country. But then some of the most interesting things in life don’t lend themselves to logic.
Driving in the car the other day, Jeb says, “I want to go somewhere they speak a different language. Somewhere we’ve never gone before.”
And I’m thinking, “Oh, I’ve got a place in mind.”
That night, I take a pause from the Google search phrase “holistic treatment of dermoid cyst” and have fun with “children on Camino de Santiago”.
This may be a grand vision, but great forests all begin with seeds.
And as I dream, I’ve come across a documentary in progress. Below is the trailer for a film that follows a few brave pilgrims as they make their journey on this sacred trail.