The Camino

Day before day one. Tomorrow I am joining a relatively new friend on a five week trek across the northern Spanish coast. My destination, technically, is the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. It looks like this: St. James, that is THE St. James of the famous 12 apostles of Jesus – reportedly lies buried in or perhaps beneath the cathedral. James, probably due to his body being interred there in the Galacian part of Espana, is important to the Spanish. At least the Christian Spanish and those who cater to the hundreds of thousands of “pilgrims” who walk one of five paths to Compostela each year.

I struggled over the quotation marks around “pilgrim,” not only because I try to be careful with those little buggers in general (amazing how much confusion they cause. We would probably be living a utopian existence by now if they had never been manifested) but also because the idea of pilgrims and pilgrimages is not one to be tossed into the word salad lightly.

Anyway, there are apparently people who walk anywhere from 100 to 1000 miles to qualify as a pilgrim on the Camino – certificate and all – but I would be hard pressed, at least here at the beginning of my journey, to use the P word for all of them.

I’m thinking at this point – now mere hours before my departure – that an exploration of what it means to be a pilgrim is going to creep into the philosophical strains of this blog. But not tonight.

Tonight I am just feeling excited about the adventure, and incredibly grateful that the universe has managed to arrange itself in a way that makes it possible for me to go.

Buen Camino, amen.

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