October 5 

Morning on the camino is not your typical morning in the US.  The sun does not rise until about 8:30.  Until then, to quote B, ” Outside is as black as the inside  of your hat.”

This suits me just fine. I am Newton ‘s First Law in the Flesh.  “An object at rest stays at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force.”

B is the unbalanced force. By 6am she has made coffee with our nifty immersion heater and the Folgers coffee bags- coffee “tea bags”. After a coffee or two and a cookie or two I join the human race. 

When it is light enough to see, we are off. 

Whatever problems kept us awake last night look insignificant in the light of day. 

Pilgrims like me worry about mosquitoes. Mark Twain was tormented by a mouse in his travel book A Tramp Abroad.  Usually we  are too tired to worry about anything at all. 

Outside the morning is generally cool and quiet. Whether we are in the country or on the shore the colors are beautiful. 

The only things moving are the chickens, the cows, the cats, and the pilgrims.

Somewhere I read that in Spain morning was from 11am until 2pm. 

The roosters did not get this memo. They crow all day long. They are everywhere and quite loud and quite colorful.

The cows have seen a lot of pilgrims and give us a jaded “stink eye” and the odd bellow.

And the pilgrims?  Today it is raining and there is not a walker to be found. Normally they pass us every few minutes until we are the last people on the path. They are missing one of the pleasures of the camino- walking in the rain.

But this morning it was the cat who had my attention.

My thoughts turn to my fat faced, one eyed, black feral cat, Schwartzy.  I think that what I love about him is that he is such a survivor. 

When we moved to Rhode Island we inherited the cat. He has survived outside for at least fifteen years.

 In the winter he sleeps in the warmest part of the loft; if he doesn’t like my food he tries the neighbors; if he doesn’t like theirs, he catches a chipmunk. When he gets in a fight with a fisher cat or a coyote, he disappears for a week or two and come back less than perfect but still alive. He is a survivor.

I think of the Jewish survivors in the concentration camps and their incredible will to survive under the most horrific circumstances. 

I think of Salvador Alvarge, a San Salvaforian fisherman who drifted 6700 miles for 438 days when the engine on his boat failed. 

I think of friends who have survived cancer not once,not twice, but three times. 

I think about what makes these people survivors. For some it is their deep faith but others have no faith and yet they too are survivors. 

Once when I was going through a bad patch a friend gave me a sheet of paper, black except for two white eyes. At the bottom it said. “When you are going through hell keep going. “Winston Churchill.

That paper lived  on my refrigerator for years until I passed it along to a friend who needed it more than I did. 

Survivors. One step at a time. Pilgrims one step at a time. Life one step at a time. 

All this thinking and we took a wrong turn and ended up going about ten miles out of our way. Our short day turned into a testy long slog.

The last thing we had to do was cross a bridge into town on a busy highway. 

Roads cars and pilgrims are a bad combination and when it came time to cross B was far ahead. 

Those who know me know there are two things that terrify me. Snakes and heights. 

When I got to the bridge I realized the cars were not my problem. 

The pedestrian bridge was three boards wide with a three foot high  see through railing. It was about a half mile above the sea and about a have mile long. 

Shaking like a leaf, I remembered all the real survivors and their real problems and their real heroics. Fool.

I took a deep breath and repeating Churchills’words,I crossed the bridge. 

2 thoughts on “Morning ”

  1. I miss you terribly. I love your pictures. Don’t fret over mosquitoes. I’ve learned fro years of camping and scouts and our wild canoe trip that if you just let them bite you after a while they leave you alone. I think you become immune. They don’t bother me anymore and they weee horrid, horrid in the Boundary Waters.
    The sun in Louisville also does not rise until 8am. It drives me crazy. I have never adapted. But I agree with Barbara. Just get up and deal. I don’t even turn on the lights just go about my coffee in the dark. The dog doesn’t even get up. Keep safe you two. Bring Barbara and come to KY. Xoxo.


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