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Camino Blog 6 – What you leave behind

Today is glorious, after a tough day yesterday.  Over a very high range, the montes de Leon, topping out at 1500 meters or so.  Climbing up up, out of the sun and into the blustery cloud up at Foncebedon, breath pouring like smoke out of Bob’s nostrils.  There, in beaten up mountain towns the world over, ancient monasteries from as early as 960 in ruins,  and the shop with open timbers and minimalist approach – no coffee, only tea.  In Spain!
And on from there to the enormously symbolic home of the left behind, the Cruz de Ferro.  You bring the rocks and they make a mighty pile, here at the summit.  They symbolize what you are walking away from – what you leave behind on this Camino.
It’s an emotional, crowdedl but essentially private scene.  Folks leave all sorts of encumbrances, past identities, baggage unwanted on the voyage, old relationships.  In my case, a sick and wounded self from the past 3 years.  In bob’s case, some regrets.  They stay at the Cruz in the form of a stone, one you bring from home or one you select on the way.  When you put it down, it stays and you move on.  What a healing ritual.
On the pile are all sorts of notes, articles of remembrance, rocks inscribed.  Here in the raw wind, spitting rain and swirling fog, the cleansing is palpable.
Both Bob and Sandy reported help on the way up.
“My pack was light, like nothing” – said Sandy.
Bob “I was lifted – it was easy.”

These two left from Vancouver – really left.
Funny, Gary was a Bonnie doon high graduate, my Edmonton high school of a mere 600 students.  He and Sandy cleaned up their situation after seeing the Way [movie] in January and we’re here in May.
But their departure foretold the purposefulness of their journey.  They walked with packs to the airport.  35 kms across Vancouver – friends walked with them and sent them off.
Now we have assembled again in a magnificent courtyard – a cafe in Ponferrada across from a fairy tale scene – the Templars Castle.  It’s sunny and we’re back in the low country, Roman bridges, traffic, clean clear sunshiny air.  Easy walking after en exceedingly rocky uneven path to climb and then descend yesterday.  Hard on muscles that are impossible to train – the downhill set.  Used poles for the first time – now I’m a convert.
But trailing down down all afternoon, losing altitude like a stone, meeting the grand valley spread out delectably before us until we arrived in the riverside town of Molinaseco – another superb and picturesque spot we cross a Roman bridge to enter.

What you leave behind makes possible what you can embrace.

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Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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