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Camino Promise

Since I have been back from Spain I have been trying to accomplish all of the things I promised myself I would do when I got home. I knew it was time to come home when I got homesick. These are notes I made for myself while sitting on a bluff, beside the trail, on a beautiful secluded place on the Camino.

The little bit of green is all that is left of the first candle.

The little bit of green is all that is left of the first candle.

“I am thinking about cleaning the pool, replanting the vine, cutting the grass, putting black out curtains in my room, sorting the bags of clothing, adding carpet to the basement so that I can do sit ups and floor work, starting a face to face narcissist healing group, walking in the morning, BBQing a chicken, automatic blinds for my room, Chinese dividers for privacy for the meet up group, my hair, my nails, seeing the girls, seeing [….] recording my weight, fasting on Wednesday’s, my bed, movies, how to deal with 20 k tomorrow, the fact that I’m almost done, the hunger pains in my stomach, the general pain in my feet and legs, how huge I am, the people I need to contact and see when I get back, writing two more books and many more things. As you can tell my mind has been racing.”

On the next day I wrote, “I have been fantasizing about a bedtime routine. Blackout curtains, aromatic candles and my sleep music. I need to replace eating to get to sleep.”

I’ve done most of these things. I still need black out curtains. They are on my “to-do” list.

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Access 

Metaphorically, the changes to my bedroom are a reflection of the external changes I want to make.

First, I opened access. I have been working on that and there is some light coming through the doorway, but only a crack.

Leon, Spain

As of yet, I am openly announcing that I am interested in meeting men. I’ve spoken to trusted friends and co-workers, but few at arm’s length.

I also find a reluctance to try on-line dating. If he exists, someone must know him. I can’t imagine a friendly guy with no friends.

So my only active plan was to just let everybody know. Let them describe me as they know me, not a self written description in an add.

I can’t believe there aren’t better ways to co-exist. North America seems to be missing the point when it comes to getting out and enjoying ourselves.

The best times are social and we’re minimizing that time. In Spain the cities are designed so that buildings and services surround great plazas that are designed for social gatherings. They are the same places bands play and ceremonies are held. People physically meet. We have very little of that in North America.

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Water

I was drinking water on the balcony. It had been sitting there in a glass since earlier. It was still cool, but not cold by any means. It brought to mind a time when warm water was refreshing. Funny how perspective can change the experience of something so fundamental.IMG_2240

On the Camino in Spain there is a very long piece of Meseta. About twenty kilometres of open space with little shade and no sources of additional water. I had left early in the morning and it was late afternoon. I hadn’t seen another person for a very long time. I was down to my last 200 ml of water (less than 1 cup) and I could not see the town I was supposed to be finding. There was a building visible several kilometres to my left, but that would be further than I could walk with this much water. I started to panic.

My mouth was so dry now I was having difficulty swallowing which is a sensation I hope none of you have ever had, or will ever have. I didn’t want to drink my last bit of water. I did not know how long it needed to last. I had started to take a small gulp and hold it in my mouth. This was maximizing the wetness of my mouth without using up too much of the water.

I was so desperately thirsty it was all I could do not to swallow it all in one ecstatic gulp, but I had to make it last as long as possible. I mastered swallowing a very small amount of it while keeping the majority in my mouth. But I was awestruck by how acute the need and desire to swallow is. I guess I had always just swallowed before and hadn’t experienced it.

That water, warm as it was, remains the most refreshing water I have ever had. True story.

 

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Native English

I got out ten Hershey’s Kisses. If that isn’t a stress response, I don’t know what is. I have only had one, so far, but I intend to eat the rest. For reasons I don’t fully understand I just had a clear memory of a conversation I had in Spain. It was notable because it was with an American teacher. This is significant because English is both of our first languages. This is often not the case with people in Spain, obviously.IMG_6701

So I was standing at a “corner” on the Camino. I had just left the city of S… something, I can’t remember, but I promise to look it up. It is significant because it is 100 km from Santiago, the destination. The minimum required to get a compostela. It means that some bureaucratic decision was made that if it took you at least a week to walk the portion of the Camino (100/7 =

I was waiting for the calculator to load and I had another Hershey’s Kiss. Very nice.

14.285714287571429, let’s say 15 km per day. So that is not a lot. Some of the seasoned walkers do 40 per day and some average walkers do 20. So a novice, that is only going to walk for 7 days could average 15. I guess they would do way more the first day and possibly the second and then have to recover from muscle soreness and blisters and then average 11 or so the remaining five days. Sounds about average.

But I digress. For reasons that I’m unaware as I was talking about something above I suddenly remembered standing at this intersection speaking to a man. Let me explain how lovely it is, when you’ve been in a foreign land, with a foreign language, to stumble upon a native English speaker. We spoke about a castle or museum that was going to open in less than an hour.

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