The Camino helps one shed the noises and distractions of daily life that oftentimes blocks or blurs the beauty around us. From my hotel room in Pontevedre, I awoke to a sunrise of dark brooding skies. The photo does not capture the dramatic hues of color or the crispness and stillness in the air. I stood there admiring the beginnings of another day.
We carried on after breakfast making tracks on the pilgrim route. Our first stop was nearby at the church of Nuestra Senora Del Refugio – La Divina Peregrina, the Virgin Mother who is the patron of Camino pilgrims. Unlike the Our Lady of Sorrows in Porto (see Prologue), she was in regal robes with the baby Jesus appearing to preside over the pilgrimage. She was dressed in purple, the color of the Lenten season. I don’t recall seeing a Mary without her abaya and hijab. Expand the photograph to see her in more detail.
As we crossed the Rio Lerez, we were treated to a spectacular morning sun that shone through the clouds. Most people did not stop to view the moment as they seemed to be walking to work or doing some errand. It is a privilege to have an free mind and the time to “slow down, you move too fast, you’ve got to make the morning last” (Simon and Garfunkel). I was feeling groovy then and while passing these ducks in a small pond off the side of a road. One could have missed them in an eyeblink.
A bit later, we came upon a group of youths idling below a monument outside of a village we had just passed through. It was Monday, a school day. Break time? Were they on a Camino feeling groovy?
After some ups and downs, twists and turn, lunchtime had arrived. Almost on cue, a greeting committee met to beckon us to a restaurant. Besides our beer, we ladled our own chicken broth soup that was populated with the tiniest pasta. We devoured it all – enough for two bowls each.
Near the end of our walk, we Duoed with Laird’s daughter, Kate, and her fifth/sixth grade students in New Hampshire. We broadcasted a 10 minute Rick Steve’s like segment on the Camino that included a guest interview with an Australians mother-daughter pair, Pam and Jenny, who were coming up the trail. We had told the students that people around the world walk the Camino. What timing. We took a photo of them later as we were sitting having a beer at a sidewalk cafe a few blocks from our hotel.
You also probably guessed that Jennifer and John from Canada made their sixth appearance. The clock was running diwn. We had almost given up hope that we would see them yesterday. Near sunset, they appeared and shared their day with us. We were left in wonderment.