Today was Friday the 13th.
We started before sunrise today. We went to bed early enough that we felt rested and ready. Walking in the dark means you miss some of the beauty along the way but you also miss some of the heat of the day. There’s an energy to an early morning that makes it feel like you are moving faster than you really are. The trouble is that in the dark it’s much easier to miss markers and to take a wrong turn.
We walked for a time with our new friends and roommate from Australia and talked less about bed bugs and more about life. I still felt itchy.
It was spectacular. Again.
Today I was struck by the diversity of the landscape along the way. We were only walking but already we were coming across different plant life, different crops being grown, different types of rock and different types of construction materials being used. This morning we walked through potato fields and finally by large potato warehouses and thought of my friends back on Prince Edward Island and wondered if they were digging potatoes yet and prayed for their safe keeping.
As we entered Granόn there was a pop-up café where we stopped and enjoyed a delicious breakfast and café con leche in a beautiful little spot. As we paid for our food we also got our passport stamped. I could have sat a long time there, not because I was exhausted but because it was such a beautiful spot. Pilgrims were coming and going and there was an excited buzz in the air. Eventually Bill and I did get up and we made our way to our destination for the night.
Walking along we came across a couple of very old churches where we prayed but found no one at either to stamp our pilgrim’s passport. This was a day on which I noted that I got a lot of praying done. I had come to the Camino with a lot of questions and between seeking answers and praying for my friend in the U.K. who was having a very serious health crisis, my prayer life was getting intense. I was so involved in my prayers that I thought we had 3 kilometers left to go when we saw the sign that we had actually reached our destination, including our albergue for the night.
If the night before had been a strange, almost surreal experience, this night in this albergue was almost a mystical experience. The place we stayed was small but warm and friendly. Our host offered to wash clothes for 5€ a load and a fire was going on the hearth – and it was a legit hearth. The community meal was a true experience of community and the food was delicious. The people around the table offered conversation as warm and welcoming as the fire. Bill amazed me at his ability to get to know people and create meaningful conversation out of thin air.
Bill’s bed that night was, well, springy. It creaked and groaned under him and poked him in the back much of the night but it was such an amazing place that I remember it still as one of our best nights on the Camino.
There’s a lot about this day that I won’t tell you about. 2 pages from my diary record an important time of contemplation and listening prayer. I might write about it some day but it still feels too personal to share. I will only say this, because it will be important for what comes next – I felt some clarity that I was supposed to ask God for a sign. One of the questions I had been contemplating had to do with writing and investing more of myself in writing. The answer I felt God gave me was that I would see a white feather tomorrow on my walk and it would be a sign God was saying, “yes.” To write.
That night I as Bill slept on his bed of nails, I discovered that sleeping next to the bathroom has its advantages and distinct disadvantages. Still, I slept, full of anticipation for the sign God would give me the following day.