At the end of every day, I go through my pictures, looking for one emblematic moment from the day’s long stream. Today’s could be Chillida’s mighty dancing Peine del Viento which we only knew to visit (a short detour off the Camino) thanks to Jean-Francois in Saint Jean Pied de Port. Before saying “Good night”, he pressed three books into my hands, one of which, the most precious he said, was all about this profoundly moving meeting of stone and iron, city and sea.
Or it could be this: a homemade rest stop for pilgrims with two welcoming chairs, water for the taking, its very own sella (a stamp for your pilgrim’s passport) and the distance from that spot to Santiago. We signed our names in the notebook, many pages in, and added our thanks to our invisible caregiver.
Or maybe it’s this: two tiny white-sailed boats pacing us as we walked and me longing to be on either one, carried, not carrying. But then I would have missed this hollow, laden with wildflowers and tiny, pale blue butterflies, where the earth folds herself into the sea.
Today was the hardest day so far, both physically (my foot! my queasy stomach! I need to pee!) and psychologically (I want to go home! where are we sleeping tonight?). And yet, despite all the pain and grumbling, I find at the end of the day that gratitude abounds, for all of the gifts above, but mostly for my partner on The Way whose self, though I absolutely loathed it about 11:30 this morning (too embarrassing to relate, trust me) I find myself holding closest tonight.