“While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years.”
These lines come from a section of Tintern Abbey that I memorized today, and they seem to speak to my experience on the Way of St. James. These hours walking, and the bright, substantial moments interspersed have the potential to inspire, teach, and sustain me in the years ahead. I hope that I will look back and feel the encouragement of a fellow pilgrim who lent me supplies, or remember the joy of a brilliant vista and smile often. At the very least I know I will benefit from the patience that the trail is teaching me, mile by mile. And so I am absorbing each moment as best I can, living into each one with the hope that I will live it again many more times after the walk is over.
I slept late today, so I didn’t start from Oviedo until after 9:30. Many pilgrims rise hours earlier, before the sun has even risen, but I still haven’t left before 8 o’clock. I’m always the last one out of the albergue. I roll out of bed and guiltily rush to get on the road, but a constant refrain in my mind is “This is your Camino and no one else’s.” I stay up a little later, reading usually, or writing, and sleep later. But I still finish my walk each day.
My way is unique, there is no hurry, I will walk my own path. On the Camino the vista-pauses and the recollections and reflections matter more than pace or mileage, just as vocation, joy, and fulfillment should always trump GPA, salary (one day), and status. So with each day I find myself resting more, walking slower, and looking for “life and food” in the moments as they come.