Published: June 30th 2010June 30th 2010
The tides turned, the train departed and arrived, the bus scooped me up in Bayonne, a tiny "city" in France near the border where I had a real basque meal and stared at rivers weaving through the concrete, the bus took me as the sun fell and the Pyrenees rose up slowly then quickly, and I had feelings of India stirring within: voluptuous mystery. Arrived in St. Jean Pied de Port, a really small village in France, and was greeted by very enthusiastic friendly camino volunteers. Got my pilgrims passport, got a lodging, found two Polish girls and an old Italian man there and then failed to really fall asleep due to excitement, anticipation and feelings of "what the fuck is going on here?" Thus began the camino. Which I am on now. It´s real. It´s pretty wowo.
Struggling for proper words here.
Present moment exercise:
In a library in Pamplona. Free internet. Asked in terribly broken awful stumbling Spanish to the pretty lady at the desk. Most ladies are pretty to me now, it´s just the truth I´ve stumbled on after 34 years of pickiness. Hands shaky a bit. Need to eat. Walked here from France. Three days. So far about 70 km (40 miles) with rucksack on back. Too heavy at times, baggage like heavy thoughts, and then the load lightens other times, as the thoughts realize their true feathery nature and blow away with the breeze. Pamplona is getting ready for the Festival (Running of the Bulls) which begins next week. So now its relaxed and I might spend an extra day here and take it easy. So far I have been staying in the pilgrim´s refugios, which cost nearly nothing. Dorm style. On the second night I slept with a record setting 119 others in one big room. A symphony of snoring. First night in the mountains, as I said, maybe 1 hour of sleep. Second night with the 120 pilgrims, 4 hours, and last night in a little river village called Larrasonna I slept a good 6. 6 hours never felt so refreshing. Guess one learns to surf the waves of human snoring sounds. If you let it, it sounds like the ocean. Eachn night in these little towns along the path from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, you can eat from the pilgrims menu which some restaurants offer for cheapo. So I´ve been well fed. Basically as a pilgrim you are cared for, kind of like the way the locals respect the saddhu holy men who wander around asking for chillum, chowpatty and chai. I am not wearing, however, any elegant orange robes as they do in India, nor have I renounced the material world as they have. I am walking as a shade of that and experiencing the value in being a pilgrim. A very powerful kind of way of being for a time. I felt it most today when I walked through a town from one end to the other, entering at around 9:30 AM (usually begin walking by 7 so that you arrive to your destination by 5 or so) and kind of just slowly passing through as the town began to come to life, people doing their peoply tasks, talking their peoply talk, making their peoply transactions, putting food in their mouths, etc etc. I guess Rotpeter has taught me to observe well. As a pilgrim walking slowly through, there was a twist on this theme. Instead of an ape observing the various behaviors of humans, I was a human slightly apart watching my fellow creatures do what I do in another time and place. Huh.
And how quickly the surfing in France faded away! The only trace is my tanned hide.
I´ll share one of my favorite Bob Dylan lyrics that´s helped me often:
Just do what you think you should do...
(Guess which song and I´ll think of you and smile)
What else can I say?
I´ll just kind of list the itinerary so far if anyone is map happy and wants to follow along
Day 1: St. Jean Pied de Port - Roncesvalles 27 km
Day 2: Roncesvalles - Larrasoana 26 km
Day 3: Larrasoana - Pamplona 16km
Day 4: I can´t say because that day hasn´t arrived yet.
For reference, many have written books about their time here doing this, two you might be able to find:
Internet may be harder to come by, so I´ll check in when I can. I´m glad to know that many are reading this. I´ve loved the comments so far. Feels great to be able to have an adventure and to share it. That´s a place where I´ve changed methinks. I think that is awesome in its relationship to art and it´s raison d´etre. It´s not just to write the story but to TELL the story!!!! Not just to have the feeling, but to COMMUNICATE the feeling! Kafka knew this. That´s why even though he locked himself away in his dungeon of a bedroom and kept his stories so close to himself, he made sure to have a friend like Max Brod to disobey his orders to burn his work and thus Max spread it around the world.
Ok. Enough for now.
Peace in and out.