Camino de Santiago

The Continued Call of the Camino

January 6, 2015
man wearing a red backpack standing on a trail looking at the sunrise

“The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand.” ~Frederick L. Knowles

This afternoon a new Camino Facebook friend messaged, “I am so grateful for the Camino. I think about it every single day.”

I, too, think about it every day, sometimes intentionally, but just as often, not. Memories of magical moments on the Camino present themselves frequently, and unbidden, though fully welcome, giving me shivers…

This morning there was a stunning sunrise-moonset over Mt. Tamalpais. The sky behind the mountain was one of those perfect pre-dawn paintings of pale pastels—blues blending into purples blending into pinks—which provided the perfect setting for the just-beginning-to-wane moon that hovered next to the eastern peak of our coastal mountain. It was beautiful.

Simply put, there is something about seeing a beautiful view while on foot that is so different than seeing it any other way.

And not surprisingly, I found my mind wandering to the many sunrise-moonsets I witnessed on the Camino Francés last summer. Those moments were one of the best reasons for awakening at 5 in the morning and braving the cold and dark of pre-dawn walking. Today’s vista brought to mind in particular the morning just outside Ponferrada, as we walked from Molinaseca to Villafranca on Day 25 (July 14). As with most mornings on the Camino, I was filled with a profound sense of peace. I followed several hundred yards behind my companions, listening to the familiar sounds of their voices being carried through the crisp air, the crunch of gravel under my feet, the birds singing the glory of the morning—seeing the moon making its way over the not-so-distant misty mountains, the green hills, the vineyards interspersed with pastures…

Memories of magical moments on the Camino present themselves frequently, unbidden though fully welcome, giving me shivers…

As beautiful as this morning’s scene here in California was as it slid past my car window, it occurred to me how much more beautiful it would have been had I been walking down a dirt road or trail, taking my time, rather than sitting in a car on a highway, alongside the other commuters making their way to work. Simply put, there is something about seeing a beautiful view while on foot that is so different than seeing it any other way. There is something about walking through a landscape, within a landscape, that makes one feel a part of it rather than being simply a pleased admirer.

Three people walking in distance on dirt road under pink sky with moon

Dawn on the Camino under an almost-full moon outside Ponferrada.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I am thrilled (and very grateful) to live in a place full of such profound beauty, and if seeing it from my car on a highway on my way to work is the only way I’m going to see it, then I’m glad to do so. It’s certainly better than a commute without the beautiful views.

But I will tell you this, I did just Google the time of tomorrow’s sunrise (0728) and there are trails in the beautiful hills near where I work…

Do you still feel the call of the Camino?

^^Video clip of the Camino between Molinaseca and Ponferrada on my Day 25 of the Camino Francés.

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  • Ignacio Sainz-Ezquerra Pellon February 17, 2015 at 14:31

    Me ha gustado el video. La perdiz era contratada o pasaba por allí. La música si que era de película, pero ha quedado muy bien.

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