I’ve had some time off, I’ve moved ahead when necessary and I’ve taken time to recover, but this last stage means a lot to me.
I may be a few days early but the butterflies are starting again. The need to share this experience with AM is powerful.
They say you all do your own Camino. If you’re on your own, with a partner, or in a group of people. No two people can have the same experiences. We all may see the same thing, or be in the same place but everyone takes out of the Camino, or life for that matter, what is closest to them. Their heart tells them what that simple thing means to them. Could be a place our a person or a view.
I think you need to know yourself well to understand why these things mean so much to you. I have learned to know myself very well. I know every spark of a thought that flashes in my mind and its reason for being there. Sounds untrue? No.
Not sure if that is good or bad, but it is what it is.
The walk into Sarria is almost a sprint. Well as much of a sprint as I can muster.
The start of the day is as beautiful as any day. The early mountain dew, the chill in the air and the sun trying to burn holes in the tissue paper that is the veil of mist, like that pub game you used to be able to play when you smoked indoors. You know, you put a tissue stretched over a glass and put a coin on top of it and each person takes turns to burn a hole in it with their cigarette until finally the coin drops into the glass.
The mist lingers longer each day as the days of summer slip away.
As with the previous day I am still above the clouds drifting in the valleys below and I’m still bloody climbing. How can that be? I don’t seem to have descended as much as I’ve climbed.
Steep, rocky lanes lead away from A Balsa, the village where El Beso is. Dark, tree covered alley ways in the edge of hillside forests.
These paths are treacherous when wet and around every corner there seems to be another incline. If I can make it to the top of this one I’ll be fine – I kid myself. Round a bend and more again. More than one rest break required here.
Eventually I break out into open countryside again. On the side of a hill still in the shade.
The colours of the forest and fields across on the other mountain are of the same palette as at home.
Gone are the dry, burnt colours of The Meseta, around Leon. These are vegetable soup mix colours.
Some boring bits beside the road and then, in the distance, Sarria.
You’d think by the way I was talking I was coming into Santiago de Compostela. This means maybe more than Santiago to me. My heart aches for AM. This is where I begin again.
If I had to put a stone on every cruceiro along the way so far for the things I wanted to leave behind and forget, I’m not sure my rucksack would be big enough. So I carry just one stone with me. But it’s a big stone – not in size or weight, there is no way to measure this one.
So Sarria beckons.
At the outskirts of the town there is a sign, not an ornate sign, nothing religious our even spiritual. Under the name Sarria is an ad for a restaurant. Pizzas, bocodillos etc. – bit disappointing but I pose for a photo, taken for me by a Polish father and daughter. I have to reciprocate with their iPhones.
Everything now needs a photo.
I haven’t really taken a lot of pics but then I don’t need to. I can see every image when I close my eyes.
The beginning of the end.