Thursday, 8 September 2011

The habit of walking: day 21

We left Leon in darkness. I watched the golden sunrise over the city from a hill on the outskirts. In a few hours we were back in the countryside. Grasslands bleached White by the sun. Lizards, butterflies, crickets, red earth and not much else.
I was conscious that I have been walking for 21 days; the time it supposedly takes to break a habit or start a new habit. There's not much I've done for 21 consecutive days. Meditate, yoga, brush my teeth. There's no doubt that the camino has got under my skin. I want it to seep into every cell of my body. I want it be etched into my soul and become a part of me so that when I leave the physical road it still lives in my heart. I love life on the camino. It is so simple, so real. I hope that after 32 days of living the camino the camino continues to live me.

We arrived early into villa de mazarife and Liz bagged a room for us in the most trippy albergue yet. The walls were brightly painted and covered in quotes and psychedelic paintings from previous pilgrims. The wooden floors swelled under our feet so much I couldn't work out how they had laid them. A local man played Spanish guitar in the garden to no one in particular. The garden contained a wooden and yellow foam boat with a sheep's head as the mast, and a cave with plastic mushrooms and a plastic frog which croaked when you passed by. As well as being full of pilgrims it also seemed to be the local jaunt for the young men of the town: Maybe there is a nearby factory or farm because we were audience to a combination of muscly arms and pot bellies. They in turn were dazzled by Liz's long legs and blonde hair. I think the two young german guys we keep bumping into and who we now lovingly refer to as the stinky stoners would like it here. So far they have camped in the fields of the tiniest of tents, smoking non stop, drinking supermarkets dry of beer, and yet they still manage keep up with our walking.
Liz and I took advantage of the washing machine in the Albergue. For me this is the first time on the camino that I have used a machine rather than hand washed my clothes. It seemed like a huge luxury. All my clothes went in and after drying in the sun smelt of washing powder, just like the smell that lingers behind the throngs of cyclists who pass us by every day in matching multicoloured lycra. I go to sleep feeling all clean and new reading the "graffiti" on the walls of the bedroom:

The rose does bloom
for all it is true
yet her mysteries are known to only a few
will you wear her crown
of thorns and shed your
blood to be reborn?
and stand before the
temple door and say
"yes" I will walk the serpents way
or hold in your hand
a treasure unknown
to be cast aside
when the fragrance has gone
And will you take the path of truth
the 22 steps without any proof?
For it cannot be taught
by book or by scroll
but must be lived, fold by fold.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location: Leon to Villar de Mazarife

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