April 24, 2013, Day 25, Leon to Hospital de Obrigo (35 km by bus)
What can say…it went quickly.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? …You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”
Today brought to mind one of my favorite poems written by Mary Oliver called Wild Geese. I am making amends with The Camino today…trying a new approach. I am just not going to fight it anymore. As I said yesterday, I conferred with the council of the Goddess of War and Wisdom when I was faced with the possibility of not having enough days to complete The Camino unless I was willing to shave some time off by taking a bus or train at some point. But also, emotionally, I didn’t know how to handle having as much to come as I just completed. The half way mark was only a bittersweet victory because the thought of going on and walking another month was overwhelming. Something inside encouraged me to think strategically. How could I complete with a feeling of victory and satisfaction…rising to a new level of emotional and physical strength. What came to me is to assess what was working and what was not working as best as I could and make some adjustments accordingly.
1. I needed to change my shoes with the upcoming mountains. I love my 5 toed shoes and they have prevented me from getting blisters where everyone else had plenty. However, they do not offer enough cushion which causes extreme leg fatigue at the end of the day. The the stubborn bull that I am finally went to a sporting shop in Leon and consulted with a wonderfully knowledgable and athletic man who had walked The Camino several times. He set me up with a great pair of shoes and socks!
2. I then asked him about energy and nutrition. I mentioned that my mental, emotional and physical energy was lower than I had hoped. He told me what I already knew and that is the food along The Camino, the traditional Spanish food is not the best for an athlete. I knew this but thought I would fight it as everyone else was eating it. He set me up with protein bars, ginseng and other nutritional supplements that he said to take as snacks along the way and not to eat the Boccadillos (sandwiches) and tortillas (Spanish omelette) and definitely limit the vino!
I took his advice and left feeling like a renewed warrioress!
3. My next “plan” was to take a bus to Hospital de Orbigo, a town 35 km out of Leon. Hospital has one of the longest existing Roman bridges and it is supposed to be simply beautiful. I was then going to walk to Astorga in the afternoon.
I arrive at Hospital de Orbigo and I fall in love with the town and the people at first sight! I decide to get my Pilgrim Passport stamped at a Casa Rural that I pass. Well, I walked into the “sanctuary” and I thought of Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese”…what is a Sovereign Woman to do but love what she loves? So, I chose to stay the night and set out for Astorga tomorrow.
P.S. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the poem, I have recorded it here:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.