Growing up, every time I complained about something my father would say ” if every day were sunny, life would be a desert.”
For the past three days our days have begun shrouded in heavy fog.
Not only was it foggy, it was cold. Two days in the 40’s and today even colder. There was ice on the car in our parking lot this morning.
The first foggy day it stayed foggy all day but since we were walking in the woods it didn’t really matter.
For the first time we needed to put on a fleece. Still my ears were freezing.
The fog stayed with us all day. Everything was grey and fuzzy but we were safe in the woods and it was beautiful.
The next day was still foggy. This was more problematic as today our path crossed and recrossed a busy highway.
Happily the Camino Norte takes good care of its walkers. There are dedicated sidewalks along some roads and at
particularly dangerous crossings,there are pedestrian buttons that set off flashing signs to warn to the cars and trucks flying through the fog.
One if the sad realities of every camino is that people are killed as they walk along the highways.
To see memorials to pilgrims killed on their way to Santiago is disconcerting and we were determined not to become another statistic.
This morning was the coldest yet. There was ice on the roof of the car in our parking lot.
But by the third day we got it right .
We were prepared for the cold and the fog, knowing we had another long stretch in the road.
I lead with my flashlight bicycle light and B followed in her glowing yellow jacket. maybe it was mid October but the mittens and ear warmers were put to good use.
By the time we crossed the railroad track and entered the woods, the sun had come out. It was the perfect cold autumn day.
It could not have been more beautiful- easy walking, no cars, no people.
As I walked I reflected on the great variety of conditions we have encountered on this walk.
Starting in Irun in mid September we were 825km (515 miles) from Santiago.
When we saw this sign at the end of our second day we were feeling pretty good and very bad. Happy to have gotten this far, more dead than alive.
We scrambled up muddy mountains, and slid down the other side. We walked along the seashore and over the rocky cliffs. Every day was different.
Some were short. Others felt like they would never end.
We never could decide which was more painful. Going up or coming down If the sign said it would take one and a half hours it would take us four.
It rained. We sunburned our noses. Our maps blew away and it was glorious ( most of the time) And suddenly we were more than half way there.
In Galicia the markers record the distance to Santiago four times each kilometer. It’s possible to get obsessed with these numbers, especially when you are tired. Then they seem to get further and further apart.
By the beginning of this week we had walked over four hundred miles and had climbed the equivalent of 2,222 flights of stairs. (We feel that every morning!)
My thoughts as I walked today
The camino is a metaphor for life. Some days are long and hard. Some days are easy. Some are sweet and everything works. Some are sour and nothing goes right.
But you need the hard to appreciate the easy. You can’t enjoy the sweet until you have tasted the sour.
Another lesson learned, maybe relearned on the camino by the gift of time and solitude.
My father got it right.
If every day were sunny, life would be a desert.