I’m back from my hiatus! More specifically, I’m back from a thirteen-day pilgrimage across Spain, seventeen days if you count all the traveling it took to get to and from our starting and finishing points. My mom, dad, and walked el Camino de Santiago, aka the Way of Saint James.
Everybody has their reasons for walking the Camino. I’ll delve more into the trip itself in a later post. For now, I’ll just say that for me, it was a spiritual and philosophical journey. After reading The Philosophy of Walking last year, I was curious. I’ve always enjoyed nature and hiking, and I’d been camping before, but I’d never gone on a trip longer than a week let alone a pilgrimage.
So I went.
Here’s a brief poem that had been forming in my head throughout the trip.
At My Own Pace
What does it mean to walk at my own pace?
To set one foot in front of the other
rather than slowing down—joining a race?
To find my own heartbeat not my brother.
The woods spread out a canopy of leaves
while sweat adorns my face at my bidding.
Set me loose in some field swarming with bees
as the click of my staff saves me from skidding.
Another pilgrim says, “Buen Camino”
as they pass. I’ll see you in an hour
when you—or I—stop for a coffee break
or maybe some fresh zumo de naranja.
Walking westward, I set a new horizon
with each day. Yesterday I climbed the mountain.
Today I descend, and tomorrow will find me
passing windmills again.
I can breathe freely in the crisp, sunrise air
my nose catching the scents of spruce and
cow manure, gravel and eucalyptus
like the first time.
I stretch my legs when we stop,
doing lunges when we start.
I don’t want it to end—but I do.
Here is what it means to walk at my own pace,
to carry my own pack—
to finally feel
Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? What are your thoughts on walking? Have you ever been on a long hike or pilgrimage before?