Loyal Soles


I watched my partner lace up these shoes every day of our 152 mile hike in  Spain and almost every day since, before our morning hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. In a year that started with goodbye to our youngest and will continue with goodbyes to our home and California, I could only barely tolerate letting the sanitation truck take these loyal soles away…

And maybe we’ve changed…

We made a lot of promises to each other on the Camino.  Something would happen and we’d say, “We’ve got to remember this when we get back home.  We need to find a way to bring this (lesson, or insight, or feeling) back with us and integrate it into our regular life.”

We’ve said that before, when we’ve gone away. Hasn’t worked out so well.

On our way back from Santiago we had a few hours to kill in Barcelona. So we hopped a bus to the center of town and went to visit La Pedrera.

The building is chock full of fantastical flourishes.

Perhaps less show-stopping, but one of my favorite spots nonetheless was….

I loved the way Gaudi took something as prosaic as a wall in a stairwell and made it sing.

We promised right then to remember, when we got back, to make sure to give more space for art to enliven our everyday.

And yesterday, in the spirit of keeping our promise, we went with some good pals to see the Ken Price show at LACMA.

We both were lucky to know Kenny.  Art was his Camino and he walked it every day.

Among the lyrical, sensuous, witty, drop-dead gorgeous pieces, the expression of a whole, good life in work, one small and lively cup caught my eye.

There’s a quote of Kenny’s on one wall:

“I make concrete objects that stay the same pretty much for the whole time they exist, and you can go away, and you can come back, and maybe you’ve changed, but the object will still be the same.”

We’ve gone away and we’ve come back.

And maybe we’ve changed.

Walking on the Camino, this reminded me of home…



Hiking in our mountains, this reminded me of the Camino…

Though clearly at opposite ends of the life cycle, these two yuccas are close relations.  The California incarnation bears two common names, Our Lord’s candle and Spanish bayonet.

Perfect, right?

It’s comforting to me that the one evokes the other. That you can love both the before, and the after.






The scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino.  It is on every sign along the way. I’ve read that there are historical or mythical connections (depending on your point of view) between the shell and Saint James. I also read that the shell symbolizes the different Camino routes converging in the same place.

To me, it’s also a symbol of the way you feel connected to all the other pilgrims – the ones you meet, the ones you pass and the ones who walked the path a thousand years ago.

Good God, regular life is complicated.

We need a new toaster. I got into my car and it told me it wants a tune up. Two months worth of bank statements arrived in the single month we were gone. And the bills…don’t get me started.

We’re both trying to hold onto the Camino, to remember the way.

And what we found there.

Here’s how pathetically little we have learned from our time on the Camino…

At JFK security, we took an unconscionable amount of pleasure at being the only people in the TSA Pre Check line and whizzing past all the suckers glaring at us from the First Class queue.

Of course, they later smirked at us from their First Class seats as we skulked our way to Coach.