I’ve taken a short break (stop judging me), and I am resting in Pamplona for the day. In fact the five of us have rendezvoused here and I have just returned from dinner with the others. The night life in Pamplona is fabulous, as is the food. Our injured compatriot and her husband caught a bus to Pamplona from Roncesvalles, and the good news is that she seems to be in good health with only a hamstring strain. So they will be joining us on the walk tomorrow, albeit carefully and gently. I’ve loved walking with the other couple and getting to know them, as well as sharing some of my story with them. Having said that, it is nice being all together again. I’ve also found myself making friends with other pilgrims on the way. A few of whom I have pretty much seen every day. Tomorrow, the others are planning to leave earlier and I will catch them up in the next day or two. Who doesn’t love a good sleep in? Only Communists and Presbyterians I say.
It is interesting that I am on a spiritual quest and that I have made two new friends who seem to have latched on to me who describe themselves as “Neo Pagans”. There has been some fun conversation to be had in there. There’s a fairly famous bit in the bible that says “if you seek, you shall find”, so I guess I find myself respecting anyone who is also on a seeker’s journey.
The walk over the last couple of days has again been quite intense. It is hot here, and there are still some pretty serious hills to cross. I’m taking in between five and six litres of water every day, and on the third day took in eight litres.
I’m loving the change in terrain, walking into villages, on mountain trails, past rivers. I’ve tried to get a few photos that show the beauty of what I’m experiencing. I am also developing some traditions, I make a point of sticking my head in any town fountains that I come across and I am swimming (sans clothing), in the rivers as I come across them here. I love it. Of course I feel for any who might stumble across such a scene.
Again, I have had plenty of time to reflect and pray and work my way through stuff. There are lots of things going through my mind and my head that are still in the early stages, and not much that I could clearly articulate here, but stand by.
One thing that has been interesting has been in dealing with some of the hills. It has not been uncommon to find myself trudging up a hill for hours at a time. I am by nature, and physique, a sprinter. I am built for strength, not endurance. My tendency when I have come to a hill has been to try and tough it out and hit it hard all the way to the top. This works on hills that are a couple of hundred metres, but trust me when I say that when you are going uphill for kilometres at a time, sprinting does not work!
This has caused me to reflect on how I approach life. I live in an instant dinner, instant entertainment, wait for nothing, world. The idea of tucking in, trudging through and toughing out a problem, from one side to the other purposefully over time, is a bit foreign to me. I tend to set a plan in motion and get to it. To learn endurance, persistence, stickability, even when it hurts every step, might be a valuable lesson to me. And in this instant gratification world, might be a useful and perhaps uncommon asset.
For those of you who I know as friends, thanks for having stickability with me. I know how lucky I am to have you.