The “Camino de Santiago de Compostela,” which our Harrison pilgrims hope to conquer, is a kaleidoscope of landscapes, people and cultures hard to describe. From mountains to endless wheatfields, from charming old villages and cities to primitive settlements, from cultures influenced by the French, Basques, Celts, Romans and, of course, the Spaniards, one finds it all. Often pilgrims are reminded of other places they know or have seen, or report spiritual encounters with their ancestors, family members and friends they knew in the past. It seems that the Camino de Santiago has the power to bring everything together – the past, present and ourselves. Again, I remember reading about natural powerlines – or joy lines – which were discovered to run parallel to the milky way – underground along the Camino – a fascinating fact! Hape Kerkeling, who wrote the book “I’m Off Then,” related a very interesting observation he made during his hike along the Camino. Marveling about the countless numbers of birds and butterflies along the way, he noticed that, whenever he veered from the trail they were gone!
On Aug. 6, three of the Harrison Hot Springs’ pilgrims – Liz, Frank and Eric – flew to Germany to re-unite with family and friends as well as do more training. The rest of the team, Cheryl, Angie and Brenda, will train here before meeting with the others at the end of this month. In the meantime, I will start to relay some of the blogs they are posting, such as the following:
“Aug. 5, 2014: The Rock There is a tradition on the Camino to bring a stone from home and rub all your fears, hurts and sorrows into the stone which you can place at the base of the ‘Cruz de Ferro.’ Here I leave my fear of loss and lack. I release myself from anything that will keep me from moving on. May I find transformation and with it PEACE.” ~ Liz
(I would like to add that Frank, too, will take a stone to the Camino, one he picked from Mt. Cheam!)
Another Aug. 5th blog: “A Trek on the HHS Spirit Trail – The day followed a wet spell but warmed so a hike through the Spirit Trail was possible. Joining us was a collage of Elders, all levels of mobility but one surprisingly strong collection of determination. We were about 12 in all, scouts out front to reduce a bear encounter, some in the middle to assist over the barriers of stumps, logs and windfall, those in the back keeping pace with the ones that cared to take it all in at a slower, more careful pace. Sticks and poles in hand we had an amazing trek, stopping at the grove at the farthest point before we looped around to journey back. Smiles at the end and stories of past hikes and journeys of all kinds. We are blessed with Elders that grace us with their wisdom and the lessons of time.” ~ Liz
And, finally, news from Cheryl. August 13, 2014: “Three more weeks! – My daughter gave birth to her first child, a beautiful baby boy, on Aug. 5th. My first grandson, preceded by two beautiful granddaughters. I have been very involved and focused on his birth and first days of life. Now I am able to focus on this journey as mom, dad and baby are doing very well, off to a great start on their journey together. The hardest part of leaving for six weeks is knowing how much he will change in that short time and saying goodbye to my children and grandchildren for that long. The first time I have been away from them for so long.
“I did my final shop for Camino yesterday and am ready to pack my backpack. Last weekend, just before the birth of my grandson, I saw a new documentary that just came out on the Camino, entitled ‘Walking the Camino: Six ways to Santiago.’ It focused on six pilgrims and the challenges of their journey. The big message that I received was to minimize your backpack. I took that to heart and am reducing some of what I had planned to take.
“The other morning I walked several kilometers up the Harrison Lake and was practicing mindfulness walking and really got a sense of walking the Camino. It was early in the morning and the only sounds were waves lapping along the shore, birds singing and water flowing over rocks. Life is beautiful and I am blessed.”
Note: Should you want to follow LIz and Cheryl’s blogs, please visit: www.soundingtheway,wordpres.com