Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 2 ; Day 3

Important to write daily because time runs into each other and I soon lose details--this old, very tired, and so many experiences during these long, long days.

Day two, 7-6-13. Necessary to write daily because so much happens. We walked from Roncesvalles to Larrasoana, a very difficult walk after yesterday's challenge. We had sent our bags ahead, so we had to complete the entire plan. Certainly not as strenuous as yesterday, but on top of the grueling first day, today was very challenging. We arrived at Larrasoana in mid-evening, so the pilgrims' hostel was full--and our backpacks were sitting waiting for us by the front door. I was simply exhausted. Someone at the local tavern mentioned a private hostel down the street. Although the owner was gone, Karin contacted him by phone, and we got his last two beds. I minimally showered, minimally ate, and went straight to bed to sleep for 10 hours; I was so exhausted that I had to reassure Karin that I would be fine in the morning--and I was. With earplugs (not that I don't always sleep like I am dead), I arose as refreshed as possible. Very challenging day!!

Day 3, 7-7-13
Onward to Arre, just a mere 11 k, from 8:30 to 12:15 pm--after an relatively straight-forward walk--compared with the last two days. We arrived at an old church with a large dormitory, large courtyard strung with clothes lines--essential cuz I hadn't had energy for any washing the previous night--and daily clothes washing is essential; I brought the minimal, and still too much, but only 2 outfits, top to bottom. TMI? We pelegrinos get very basic. Good dinner near the hostel; always good conversations with people from many countries. Speaking of good conversation (without giving away any names), Karin and I were speaking with a young man who had lived in Sweden for a short while. Just like Karin speaking with a couple of people from Finland--who speak Swedish slowly, I can follow conversations between/amoung other people who are speaking sslloowwllyy! Anyway, one tidbit of information led to another, and then all three of us were in tears. Turns out that his girlfriend is the daughter of a close colleague in Seattle--again, to preserve confidentiality (you know how I am!!!), I won't share the private and mind-blowing details. Another synchronicity , and only Day 3! Tears again!

Today's poem (writing in my head all the time--I will translate the prose into poetry 'ere I return).

                                       Just Like Other Animals
Many other animals balance on four legs,
Yielding balance and security and flexibility.
When one appendage slips, three more are on hand,
Or, actually, on foot, in this case.
Imagine a two-legged table, and now, 
Add two more legs to see the difference:
More ability to manage elbows and dishes.

Walking sticks afford me four legs,
Especially when utilized like dogs, rather than like camels.
In that gait, camels and humans walk similarly,
Yet camels, too, have two additional legs for support.
Our two legs must have some benefit over the four,
Dancing, I think,  like trained dogs and bears rear up
On back legs to waltz and pirouette.

Just as Frank tutored me in my bike gears  
During the first 10 miles of the STP,
Karin taught me the opposite hand/foot rhythm 
Of walking sticks, saving me, multiple times, 
From tipping off center or, worse, off precipices.
When skiing and hiking, walking sticks offer
Amenities so that I can be just like other animals.

By Ann Beth Blake   July 8, 2013 (c)

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