Still With the Magical Other After 45 Years

Young couple walking together holding hands.

Young couple walking together holding hands.

It’s our anniversary today. We were married 45 years ago, two relative strangers standing together promising to stick together while we figure out who we were as well as who was the stranger that we married. We are about as different as one could possibly imagine, yet we find ourselves constantly shifting and changing and somehow still walking together, literally, hand in hand through life. Well, most of the time.

Here on the Camino we walk within ourselves, our hands holding onto walking poles that click off the kilometres. It’s hard work, tiring work. At the end of six hours of walking we are dead tired and want nothing but to shower and perhaps take a rest before we set out to discover the small community we have chosen for our night’s stay. This late afternoon walk is done hand-in-hand just like the walks we take around our home town. With no poles to occupy our hands, it is as though magnets force our hands to seek each other. The mind doesn’t play a role in this phenomenon – magic is all that can be said to explain it. I admit it, she is my Magical Other.

Wind, Rain, Cold – The Journey of Life Continues

Back lane in a prairie town after a rainfall.

Back lane in a prairie town after a rainfall.

I am walking the Camino as you read this post. If all goes according to plan, we will walk from Orisson to Berguette, a tiny village after Roncevalles in Spain. Obviously this post was written before I left as I knew that I wouldn’t have internet access for another day or two at the least. Likely I will access internet in Pamplona which is famous for the running of the bulls.

The last full day in Saskatchewan was another dreary and cold day with the high only reaching 12C and the low threatening to approach zero overnight. Walking in the back lane was a mud festival as the ground is so soft from the frequent rains and cool weather. The weather also kept most people indoors which allowed me to wander a bit further than normal from my yard while skyclad.

Someone asked me if I was going to walk part of my Camino skyclad. To be honest I don’t think I will even try as there are hundreds of walkers in front of me and behind me, usually within sight, being passed or passing us in turn. The journey has a different impulse, a different goal, something that I can only suggest touches on the spiritual dimension. All pilgrimages work a change on the psyche and spirit of the men and women who walk them, a change that is not very predictable, sometimes not even wanted as it disturbs the way we live in the world and understand the world. Still, I do imagine that I will continue to sleep nude and meditate au naturel. Some things are not very negotiable.

The Camino – An 800 Kilometre Long Walking Meditation

The route we will be walking in Spain.

The route we will be walking in Spain.

I wrote this post before leaving Canada with the intention of it’s being scheduled to appear at this time, the day when my wife and I take our first steps up the side of a mountain as we leave a town called Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Today is my wife’s sixty-fifth birthday. Setting this day as our first walking day was a very intentional act. I am sixty-six and we have both become “senior” citizens with all of the benefits that the status grants us back home in Canada – free entry into provincial parks, free fishing license, and reduced rates at most golf courses. I was going to say that reaching the golden years meant that we had retired from working, but that isn’t exactly true. We both continue to work at things that we love to do. She continues to be a care giver in a nursing home, and I continue to provide therapy in my office. We don’t have to work, our work is something in which we find great value, something that gives our life meaning.

The walk today is a short walk of only eleven kilometres, almost halfway up the mountain. We could probably hike the whole distance to the top and over it to the next pilgrim hostel, but we are not in a hurry. I need time to meditate, to sit at the edge of the walking paths so that I can write in my journal, as well as to wander off the path to take photos that call out to me with echoes of ancient stories. At this rate of hiking, we should reach Santiago in six weeks.

The Camino – An 800 Kilometre Long Walking Meditation

The route we will be walking in Spain.

The route we will be walking in Spain.

I wrote this post before leaving Canada with the intention of it’s being scheduled to appear at this time, the day when my wife and I take our first steps up the side of a mountain as we leave a town called Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Today is my wife’s sixty-fifth birthday. Setting this day as our first walking day was a very intentional act. I am sixty-six and we have both become “senior” citizens with all of the benefits that the status grants us back home in Canada – free entry into provincial parks, free fishing license, and reduced rates at most golf courses. I was going to say that reaching the golden years meant that we had retired from working, but that isn’t exactly true. We both continue to work at things that we love to do. She continues to be a care giver in a nursing home, and I continue to provide therapy in my office. We don’t have to work, our work is something in which we find great value, something that gives our life meaning.

The walk today is a short walk of only eleven kilometres, almost halfway up the mountain. We could probably hike the whole distance to the top and over it to the next pilgrim hostel, but we are not in a hurry. I need time to meditate, to sit at the edge of the walking paths so that I can write in my journal, as well as to wander off the path to take photos that call out to me with echoes of ancient stories. At this rate of hiking, we should reach Santiago in six weeks.

Taking a Small Train to Saint Jean

The train from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port at the Saint Jean station.

The train from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port at the Saint Jean station.

No, I didn’t take this photo, I borrowed it from a google search. Our train was likely the same train which we caught after a night’s stay in Bayonne. I have prepared this post ahead of time after doing an image search as I knew that for the next several days I wasn’t likely going to find time to write up blog posts. I know our schedule so it wasn’t something hard to do.

Since we were staying in a cheap hotel, I was able to meditate before leaving our room, of course meditation was au naturel. I have a feeling that this is going to become a rare way of meditating in the weeks to come. Tonight we sleep in Saint Jean Pied de Port after registering at the Pilgrim Office in the town.

Pilgrim massage in Spain on the Camino.

Pilgrim massage in Spain on the Camino.

I got to have a massage before I left with my masseuse who has no issues with my being nude and undraped while she works on my hips and back. I am aware that there are massage opportunities en route but from what I understand, they are expensive. I found this photo from a pilgrim’s blog where he was able to get a massage while nude for a reasonable price. He didn’t say in which village that he found this opportunity, so I will have to discover opportunities, when needed, on my own.

What other opportunities will present themselves for me to experience being skyclad while on the Camino? A question with no answer in sight.

Bon Chemin!

 

Taking a Small Train to Saint Jean

The train from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port at the Saint Jean station.

The train from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port at the Saint Jean station.

No, I didn’t take this photo, I borrowed it from a google search. Our train was likely the same train which we caught after a night’s stay in Bayonne. I have prepared this post ahead of time after doing an image search as I knew that for the next several days I wasn’t likely going to find time to write up blog posts. I know our schedule so it wasn’t something hard to do.

Since we were staying in a cheap hotel, I was able to meditate before leaving our room, of course meditation was au naturel. I have a feeling that this is going to become a rare way of meditating in the weeks to come. Tonight we sleep in Saint Jean Pied de Port after registering at the Pilgrim Office in the town.

Pilgrim massage in Spain on the Camino.

Pilgrim massage in Spain on the Camino.

I got to have a massage before I left with my masseuse who has no issues with my being nude and undraped while she works on my hips and back. I am aware that there are massage opportunities en route but from what I understand, they are expensive. I found this photo from a pilgrim’s blog where he was able to get a massage while nude for a reasonable price. He didn’t say in which village that he found this opportunity, so I will have to discover opportunities, when needed, on my own.

What other opportunities will present themselves for me to experience being skyclad while on the Camino? A question with no answer in sight.

Bon Chemin!

 

Waiting For the Train To Bayonne

Jardins de Trocadero across the river from the Eiffel Tower.

Jardins de Trocadero across the river from the Eiffel Tower.

The image is not a real person, rather it is a statue found in the Jardins de Trocadero which lays on the northwestern bank of the Seine River across from the Eiffel Tower. We have been through these gardens a few times on various visits to Paris. It’s unlikely that we will be wandering around these Gardens today as we have a train to catch in order to travel on to Bayonne where we intend on spending a night before taking our last conveyance to Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Paris is a magical place for me. I can still remember as if it was yesterday, the first evening my wife and I spend in Montmartre, having a drink at a tiny table while waiting to have our turn at getting our portrait done, a caricature really. I bought her a single red rose from a passing vendor and presented it to her.

Bayonee is a small city, more of a town than a city with just over 100,000 people. I don’t know what we will find there for accommodations as I didn’t book a hotel room. When we get there, we will discover what is available, leaving it chance, something that we will have to do for most of the nights during our stay in Spain when walking the Camino. We do have accommodations booked in Saint Jean and in Orisson a hostel just eleven kilometres passed Saint Jean. No other accommodations have been booked as we don’t know where or when we will be at any of the other stops along the pilgrimage route. We will be listening to our bodies and basing decisions on what they tell us.

Bon Chemin!