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.