A Pot of Boiling Octopus
I really do think I’m going to miss the early morning walks the most. I just love everything about them, even the parts when they are scary or cold, which is actually quite often. I typically start out in the pitch black of night. And, although, I have my headlamp on, it is always a test of my forced courage to move out into the dark.
There is so much to fear. Not the least of which is someone jumping out from behind a tree! The odds against that are probably quite low but in my lower brain stem region, it is a very real threat so I am on red alert. It has been really good practice to not listen to that fear and to walk in confidence on the trail all alone.
There is the much more realistic fear of getting lost. That is a constant threat in the light of day, much less, in the dark of night. I have to stay on constant alert for yellow arrows popping up out of nowhere. And, then there is the danger of stepping in something I can’t see, like a hole or a puddle or a cow patty. This morning, I stepped in all three.
My favorite time of the morning is when the sun starts peeking through the clouds but the moon is still up, too. On some mornings I feel like I have entered a war zone witnessing a full-scale battle. The sun and the moon are at a stale mate. In the East, the sun insists it is his time to shine. The moon is not quite ready to give up her glory in the West. Their weapons are drawn; the sun with his army of colors, the moon with her hazy squadron of clouds to carry her luminosity beyond her sphere of influence. Most of the Camino walkers seem to be siding with the moon. The roosters are crowing in support for the sun, intent on waking the snoozy peregrinos and everyone else with their sweet alarm clock. In the east, the sun is no longer playing fair. Trails and tails of smoke are now crisscrossing the oranges, reds, yellows and pinks as if rockets were launched to declare the winner from all directions. The man in the moon must have gently kissed the downcast face of his lunar lover and beckoned her to bed. She reluctantly slips lower on the horizon and I whisper, “Goodnight, Moon.”
About the time it looked like the sun could declare a solid victory, it started to rain – and it rained all morning. I kept relatively dry from the waist up but my pants and shoes were soaking wet. And, water was dripping off my rain jacket hood like it was rain gutter.
Thankfully, it wasn’t terribly cold, just a little shivery. I, actually, enjoyed the experience very much. I mean, how often do you get to walk in the rain for hours? It really did feel quite cleansing and like I was getting away with something that, as an adult, I maybe shouldn’t be doing. How weird is that feeling?! I’m happy that I got this opportunity before finishing the Camino.
I don’t know if I’m as happy about the other opportunity I had today – to eat octopus! Before I left, my Twitter friend, @robhike, sent me a list of things I had to do/try on the Camino. I was eager to check all of them off the list except one – eat Pulpo once I arrived in the Galacian district. He insisted that it was a delicacy and that I would love it – or, at least, be glad I tried it. Hmmmm…well, I definitely didn’t love it but, he was right, I was glad I tried it – once.
I realized today that I only have four more days of walking. Of course, that feels like forever; 96 hours comes much closer to describing how long it still seems. 5,760 minutes or even 345,600 seconds is much more like it!
In all honesty, I’m kinda ready for this to be finished already. I’m over all this lonely walking all day and even lonelier not-talking all night. Here’s a screenshot of a text message I sent to my family this afternoon.
Thankfully, Steve called me within seconds of receiving the text and asked me what I was most looking forward to when I get home. I don’t know if that was a wise conversation, or not. I spent the next 30 minutes rehearsing about fifty different things I was looking forward to doing FIRST once I got home. Now, I’m REALLY ready to have already walked the remaining 54 kilometers or 74,587 steps (but who’s counting.)