Ferreira to Castaneda…a full and grateful heart

Oviedo –> Grado –> Salas –> Tineo –> Sumblismo –> Berducedo –> Castro –> A Fonsagrada –> O Cadavo –> Lugo –> Ferreira –> Castaneda –> Amenal –> Santiago de Compostela

***

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope this note finds you happy, healthy and full of love and light! The walk today was going to be a long one, ~33 kilometers or ~20 miles, but the weather was expected to be perfect for walking, with a range from 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. I decided to get going early and as I walked through small villages and fields of corn, a feeling of overwhelming gratitude washed over me. I thought about how fortunate I am to have such a loving family and how, while I missed them, I could be on this pilgrimage knowing that they were all okay and in their right places. I thought about how grateful I am for my friends, from all around the world, met over the years in work and play, who enrich my life in immeasurable ways. I thought about how thankful I am to be healthy and able to experience the world this way, walking from village to village, feeling strong and joyful. I thought about how blessed we are to have a world filled with beauty and wonder, a shining sun in a blue sky, beautiful flowers, abundant fruit on the tree and happy children.

Finally, I felt a deep sense of appreciation for my faith and the spiritual journey I am on, as I try and determine how to spend the rest of my life, pursuing the second mountain, the sacred dance. While this is not just a lesson from the Camino, it really was a powerful feeling today, this feeling of gratitude for all of my blessings.

The walk today was like many of the other walks, although I did experience for the first time a real traffic jam on the Camino:

It was so fun (and funny) to watch these dairy cows go by, and the farmers got a kick out of me filming them. Since I have been on the Camino, I haven’t once thought about the traffic on highway 101, yet this procession and this one brought me back there: 😉

It struck me that this farmer seemed to employ a bit of “technology” (the tractor and the dogs) to make this work a little easier on him.

After the Camino 101 I began to do the major climb for today which was simply called Alto (“high”) on the topo map I was using. Given the terrain I had climbed through on the Hospitales Route this was not that high (~710 m or 2100 feet), but it was fairly steep and when I got on top of the ridge the view was lovely:

As I kept walking along the ridge, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks: I saw two rock formations that symbolized David Brooks metaphor in his book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life.

The gratitude I felt for being able to walk the Camino and think about a second mountain in life soared. And while I haven’t exactly figured out what my second mountain is yet, I do know that it has to be centered around giving back to those less fortunate than I. This is the real purpose of my Camino.

As I walked down Alto, enjoying the sunshine and breathing in the fresh air, I started singing and before I knew it the 6 kilometers to Melide had passed and of course I had to stop at the famous Pulperia Ezequiel, one of the original pilgrim restaurants on the Camino that served Galician-style octopus in olive oil. People sat at tables on benches, family-style, and the restaurant had full maps of the Camino on the wall. Although the sign said buen vino (good wine), I stuck with the Camino staple, Estrella Galicia beer.

This was a wonderful respite after 23 km as I still had almost 10 km to go. Melide is a pretty cool town with much to see and I don’t think I did it justice. Melide is also where the Camino Primitivo intersects the Camino Frances, and for these last two stages I would see more people than on the entire Primitivo.

I left the restaurant and meandered through the town, snapping pictures and dragging my tired body to the small and non-descript village of Castaneda.

As I walked toward the setting sun and my little casa for the night, I again reflected on the day and the gratitude I felt simply to be alive, walking the Camino and experiencing life to the fullest. I think this feeling is something I will remember from this particular day on the Camino, that of a full and grateful heart.

Peace and love,

Brian

4 thoughts on “Ferreira to Castaneda…a full and grateful heart”

  1. It looks like this is your second last leg. Almost done! Remember your giant migraines in the beginning!? How far (pun intended) you came from that! 🙂
    Thank you for reminding me to refresh my
    Practice of gratitude. Oh The grace in our lives!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sumit, and yes, I will never forget those migraines in Oviedo…almost stopped me dead in my tracks. But how GRATEFUL am I for the care I received in Spain and the great health I experienced on the Camino? “Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” – Henry Ward Beecher

      Like

  2. Traffic jam 😂
    Yes brother we are fortunate and take so much for granted. Enjoying these moments with you – thank you for sharing, and stimulating us to more reflective also. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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