14 Sep; Day 14. It took us nearly an hour to get out of Burgos as we had to circle to find the Camino again. Being honest I didn’t care much if we found the exact right street, I did not feel the need to walk every single step of the marked trail but my travel companions did care so time was spent ensuring we walked it as close to our accommodation as possible in the heat of the afternoon and circled to where we left it in the morning.
We stopped at the Cathedral for a look, took some photos, found a place for breakfast and got on the trail again. All of that took over an hour before we cleared town. The sun was rising though it was still cool thankfully as we had 28km to go. We walked through a small village where we had a drink and rest, then as we set off again we found a lovely little chapel where a nun was stamping Compestellas and offering trinkets for a donation to support the nuns going on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and St Chappells in France. As we had seen both places we were happy to donate and receive a wonderful blessing for our journey.
We carried on as the day got hot, the meseta, the high plains are sweltering. Hard yakka, one foot at a time. We were about done when we stopped in Hornillos for food and a blessed cold drink, then realising we needed to hoof it the next 5km to claim our beds at Arroyo San Bol. It was a very tough 5km in the heat, we were all struggling and beginning to wonder if this was the day we planned a kilometre to far.
A little off the beaten track, Arroyo San Bol is a small alburgue with 12 beds, solar power, a healing mineral pool, one toilet and one shower. The communal meal was cooked by the host. The last km was hard on the feet, knees and spirits. I was never so happy to see the sign that said we had 800m to walk. Before dinner we had time to have a cold beer, do our laundry in the pool outlet, soak our feet in the blessed cold water and hang the laundry to dry before sitting down to an amazing chicken paella with salad and red wine.
Brenda braided my hair in spite of her sore hands and feet, heartfelt thanks for the blessings of a sister. We were in bed by 8.45pm. Laying down my weary body, earplugs in, eye-mask on, snoring before the room was quiet. Deliciously thankful for the rest. Though I believe a few of my roommates had something to say about my snoring the next morning.
18 Sep; Day 16. As we did most mornings, we were up and leaving Boadilla in the dark. We walked along the canal watching the sky lighten as the sun began to rise. Walking by the water we found a boat landing, wondering where the boat was as that seemed like a good way to pilgrim down the river. We wandered on, following the canal to Fromista where we found breakfast, about 5km. Walking to breakfast has now become a habit, one we all seem to find works for our systems. Just before the town we found the boat tied up at another landing, just before the lochs. I found myself thinking of a canal holiday in a long boat. That could be a thing sometime in the future. The canal we followed was from the 18th century, for the transportation of crops as well as providing power to turn the corn mills. Many pilgrims had stayed in Fromista the night before and had already departed, so after breakfast we followed on.
At the end of the next town we had a choice of paths, one going via the main road and the other taking a more scenic route. We had left Brenda attending to a chap with a shin splint. With both of my travel companions suffering from shin splints, they had become experts at taping them, so we made an executive decision to take the slightly longer more scenic route, texting her to follow. As the fastest walker among us we knew she would catch up before we stopped for lunch. Following the dusty road, we eventually came to a turn across a bridge. A man in a van was handing out pieces of tomato. Tomatoes here are huge so half a tomato is a good snack. He had no English and rattled on in Spanish. His named was Pepe and he was doing service for the pilgrims by offering food from his garden. After a moment of wondering how clean his hands might be, I took the offering gratefully and enjoyed the sweet taste of the sun in the juices.
From there we meandered along the river to where the track met the road and stopped for lunch before trudging another 5-6km to Carrion de los Condes. A 25km day, we were ready to kick the shoes off, shower and die on our beds. We had decided not to go anywhere that night, though we usually looked for a pilgrims mass to finish our day. The owner of the hostel very kindly gave us the information on what was where in Carrion. As we discovered the church was across the street and they were having a guitar concert, we decided to go. So happy we did, the guitar was lovely, followed by mass and a wonderful blessing by the nuns which felt very special.
19 Sep From Carrion de los Condes we rose early to be on the road by 7.15am to start the walk to Ledigos, around 26km. Still on the Meseta follow the road along a dirt path lined with trees in places, for which we were grateful. Our room in the old building was very quaint. There was a separate room at the front with a double bed and a window. We had been taking turns at having a separate room and tonight was Pilgrim Pauline’s turn. There was an old baby cot in our space, we made jokes about having a ghost baby to look after since the two of them were baby nurses. The bathroom was at the end of the corridor so a little distance to trot. Being industrious after our 26km, we got our dusty clothes washed and hung out in the hot afternoon sun. Everything was soon dry.
Well, eating my words. A bit like cardboard with a side of dust. For years I have sworn that I would never visit France. I have refused to buy any French produce, cheese or wine. While it has been many years since a group of French terrorists sank the Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior in the Auckland harbor, killing a man in the exercise, it happened in my country. They got away with it. It hurt my heart and soul very very badly. So I swore that I would not support a country that these people came from in any way. I have been pretty staunch about that.
I did not book our flights for this trip, that was PilgrimBrenda and was not impressed when I found we were to spend a couple of days in Paris. Quite unimpressed. However, over the year of planning the idea grew on me.
We arrived on Friday afternoon, via Dubai, a journey of 32 hours from the time I left home. Jet lagged and hungry and dehydrated we found the trains, worked out how to buy tickets, and set off into the intricacy of the Paris metro. Apart from a weird thing with a man who seemed to be helping us and a wrong train, we found our way back to the point we had missed the direction, the right train and found our hotel. Thank you Google maps!
A client of mine hearing I was going to be in Paris suggested visiting Sainte Chappell. We Googled it and discovered there was a petite classical concert and bought tickets. Probably not smart when we had been on the go for so many hours.
Sainte Chappell is beautiful. Stained glass that is breathtaking. Part of the original French palace complex, close to the Seine. Gothic in style, the huge arching ceilings and the stained glass is pretty special. We looked and enjoyed, had dinner in a small cafe across the road and then returned for the music. The group of 3 violins, a 1794 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini played by Frédérik Moreau, a cello and the voice of soprano Cécile Besnard made for a stunning evening with amazing the acoustics.
Wandering back to the hotel, the age of the buildings and the history of the city made me realize how young we are as a country and a people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Next post, our trip to Chartres.
Are you a writer that struggles to find time to get to your pen? Are you wanting some space to breathe and move and allow words to flow? Can you gift yourself some time with a group of writers?
You are invited to join us for a day of writing, moving, sharing and community. We’ll talk about how to write from and to our hearts, how to get out of our own way, how to use movement, mantra and witnessing to allow the words to rise.
You will take home a poem or two and a prose piece you can be proud of. We will spend time sharing, moving and writing together. If this sounds like you, come and join us!
Where: Lotus Yoga Centre, 91 Ruapehu Street, Paraparaumu
BYO lunch, notebook, pens and an item of significance. Tea and coffee provided.
Facilitator: Clarity Henderson, Otaki based author (poetry collection Grief Has No Handles (Balboa Press 2021) and upcoming collection, Listening to Now) is also a Red Thread Guide and Colour of Woman Intentional Creativity teacher.
Register: Clarity 021 147 9885 or email: email@example.com
“I flow,” she said, flicking a wave up with her finger. “To the depths,” she said, rolling smoothly over the wave and descending to the ocean floor. Then rising from the depths of herself, allowing the water to sheet from her body, she drifts up to the beckoning moon that lights up her surface and calls for her tides to rise.
She is rising still and every moon she sweeps to the top of the sands licking at the dune plants. In between full moons She will hold back, chasing crabs, washing up offerings, lazily playing with waves. Tidal movement flows over her and I, cleansing and nourishing with the healing of the water.
Unwind the bindings clip the tight stitches release everything from bondage allow it to move. Let the song erupt, the tears to flow move and shake hear the heartbeat of life gyrate, slide and listen sway slowly to that unique rhythm of walking your own path. Know the spirals of life follow them into the centre of the deep mystery let it explode like stars into your being wear the galaxy like your favourite dress go on, let her out, bursting forth this foot stomping, hip swaying, light bearing Mystery of life. This is what the Divine created a coded map, a blueprint, a light in the world that cannot be hidden. Come on, the sea is calming The wind is steady, unfurl the canvas and light up the world.
Are you brave enough to stand at the very edge Peeking over into the void of all that there is Into the potential of yourself Where your edges come to play? This is the place of passion And the place of pain Rest here a while as there is work to do. The work of unwinding the heart and its vessels The mind and its thoughts The body and its stresses It is time to unwind here at the edge Pour the wine, there is food and great company For we are a tribe of seekers Looking for that place in our Being That says Yes! This is where I need to be. I offer you an invitation to rest here At the edge of the universe And sip wine and catch the ball Of Red Thread when it comes your way.
She who is the weaver balanced on the edge Pulls each thread tight as it passes under and over Under and over again without tangling or leaving snarls She wraps the thread of Being in and out of the line dividing darkness and light.
Balanced like a tight rope walker above the abyss Of the endless void with its sparkling darkness And the crucible of bright heat of a molten sun Warming the bright blue fabric rippling beneath The veil of the universe.
She who gazes with compassion at the colourful threads Her fingers flying to gather the breath of the dragon Weaving, over and under, the ethereal magic into the hearts Of the brave that waver on the edge of the wide universe Waiting and open to her ministrations.
She who is the Weaver of Hearts casts about to Gather those souls broken perfectly open The spirit soaring through the darkness Keening in anguish, broken threads trailing There is strength to mend with her flying fingers.
When She who is the weaver of hearts hears that brave call of the soul Taking more of the dragon’s breath she threads her needle Aiming at the rift with quick stitches making intricate patterns Tenderly pulling the edges of the gaping wound closed Allowing the heart to back gracefully off the edge between darkness and light
She who gathers the shadows as she weaves Picking them carefully from the lips of the wound Tenderly sitting each pool of tears on the rim Ushering them after the mended heart, creating a cushion to cradle The heart that birthed it against the next rending of the fabric of Being.
She who is the Weaver of Hearts of the Dragon Hearted Invites those who are not afraid of teetering on the brink To embrace their brokenness and allow the light to shine Through the weaving that will hold it together While never quite closing the gap of lessons learned.
Then she settles, to watch and wait, for your next visit To the edge of the Universe.
She says: Array is on display. I am cloaked with the web of life of all Beings, seen and unseen. Trust that the strands may break sometimes and then be woven back into being by your Beloveds and the Creatrix of Life. This is a great adventure, holding space, being active, creating, heart held in a cloak of knowing, of gentleness. WE are on display, come, take my hand, be a part of the Array.