You might expect that with five to seven hours a day walking, we would have loads of time on our hands to think. And you would be right. But to quote Lena, “I’m not sure I am thinking any deep thoughts.” The same is true for me. Just when I think I have a few flashes of brilliance, they dissipate. I am often struck most by gratitude – for a flat road, a great salad, clean sheets, or a kindness offered. More often than not I am considering the condition of my feet and what I will eat next. But I am rarely thinking philosophically, theologically, or even spiritually. But that seems OK. The real nature of the Camino is to simply take what comes – even in my mind.
I have not yet put in my earbuds and listened to music, a podcast, or an audiobook. It is not that I think that would be wrong, it is just that right now I am taken up with the quiet, conversations with people we meet, and paying attention to what we see.
One of the things Lena and I spoke about today was the varied landscapes we have already travelled though in the past 130 kilometers. Mountain vistas above the tree line, forest tunnels, vineyards, rolling hills, small villages, urban freeways, and industrial towns. It feels like we have actually travelled much further than we have (in time and space).
Today we had a wonderful conversation with a young couple from Wisconsin. She an art therapist, he a part time postal worker, they decided to take time off between jobs to do this journey. They met on a college exchange program in Poland, and recently did a 1000 mile tandem bike ride from Montana to Wisconsin. (That one is NOT on my list.) We reflected on life in general and pondered the state of politics in the United States. I’m always encouraged to have a conversation with folks who can look at our nation critically, but work for the best for all.
Tonight we stay in La Casa Magica – less quaint than it sounds. The smell of incense (which I enjoy) wafts thought the building. The restored medieval building has seen better days. Still—a bed, a shower, a patio on which to relax—we could do worse. Tomorrow we have a long day (18 miles) after today’s relatively short one (12 miles). So we are trying to get mentally prepared. I may have to crank up U2 on the trail tomorrow to give me a bit of extra energy (that and a chocolate croissant).