The pilgrim statue on Plaza San Marcos in Leon, Spain
I am envisioning a moment in the not-too-distant future. In it, I’ll be standing on a gravel and dirt road just north of Leon, Spain ̶ ̶ a road that begins at the feet of my old pilgrim friend pictured here, and leads toward the town of La Robla as the first stage of the Camino San Salvador. I will have been walking for a few hours. No one else is around and it is silent, the bustle of Leon only an echo in memory. Surrounding me are some foothills, light swells in the land, nothing too impressive. Impressive comes in another day or two in the form of the Cantabrian Mountain Range.
In this future moment of mine, I note how very different this experience will be from my last walk along a pilgrimage route. In time, seven years have passed. It seems so much has changed. And yet here I am again, walking in this place that has always reminded me of time’s circular shape, walking over the ancient ground, walking through the birthplace of this life I now live as one who writes and thinks and wonders. The old conundrums are with me again: the tension between time and what it contains, the way things seem to be, the way things are, and the way they shall be.
And so now, alone during this envisioned brief interlude early along the Way, I am to pause and place my intention, as silent and secret as it is dark, into the steps not yet taken, onto the abiding road that awaits, for this is the way of pilgrimage: to walk on unknown ground in faith, to allow the inner journey to reflect outward, and most of all to listen for the road’s steadfast and trustworthy reply. The road is wise and holy. The road is beautiful. The road is life.
Here is a prayer I can offer aloud:
May I find a way forward.
May I ascend beyond.
May the saints speak their Word
and carry me ever homeward.
Buen Camino. I’ll be in touch.