There are many lessons of the Camino that one packs in your backpack to go home. Some are glaringly apparent, others take time and reflection to be recognized and assimilated. As I ride in the first class seat of the train to Madrid, I am being assaulted by the thoughts of so many things in my life for which I am grateful. Many are simple, daily pleasures and conveniences, others are deeper and less frequently noticed, and still more are those fundamental gifts that life has bestowed upon me for which there can be no price nor expression of appreciation that could possibly satisfy the feelings of gratitude That I have.
I appreciate a great shower, a wide variety of clean clothes, fresh air, the warmth of the sun, shelter from weather, and a good nights rest. I love a good glass of wine with a simple flavorful meal. I crave the company of others. Especially those who share basic values I have and are willing to share their thoughts in an interesting way so that I may learn more about them, about myself, about culture, and about life. I appreciate the profound love I have had in my life which was deep and powerful enough to sustain me these four years since her passing and I suspect will be with me the rest of my life. It continues in the love I have for two wonderful children and they share it back to me in great amounts.
I would not have, indeed, could not have completed this last Camino were it not for the gift of Merci and Scott Hutchison. After recovering from Covid, I was weak and damaged for the Camino with my family. My pride and natural stubbornness would not allow me to pass on that opportunity. I had to walk with them since it was long planned and extremely important to me to demonstrate to my children and my brothers the magic of the Camino and why I love it so. By 11 September, we had completed our family Camino. I was bruised and broken. Tired and sore. I decided that I had to at least set the Hutchisons up for success and start out with them. Several times along the way, I nearly stopped and left them on their own. It was their energy, their caring, and their friendship that sustained me. Even in our last day, while suffering a raging down hill climb that was excruciating, I nearly gave in and called a taxi. But I did not thanks to them. Their understanding, their comradeship, and their kindness. For these things, and for them, I am grateful.
I have written, with some attempt at humor, about the Camino Diet. The fact is, I (dare I say we?), live a life where there should be less eating and more exercise. Yes, one doesn’t have to walk 90 miles a week to be healthy nor does one need to fast for 20 hours between meals. I think we can all admit, however, that if our life’s exercise program is walking back and forth to the refrigerator and we eat a full meal every four hours, that is simply not healthy. This is a lesson one needs to learn on their own. I am the last person to lecture others regarding eating habits. I have met the enemy and it is I.