Monday, July 10, 2017

Happy Camino Trails

Except for that part where I almost died today.

No, really.

There are thousand year old cobblestone pathways on the Camino. They are jagged and irregular. Some are loose. I was walking down a steep cobblestone pathway that had a cliff on one side lined by rasberry bramble bushes full of thorns. One mis-step without a walking stick to balance lost my balance and with the weight of my backpack threw me headfirst into the bramble bushes where my weight with backpack sent me plummeting deep down the hill head first into bramble thorns.  There I was suspended over a cliff with nothing but latticed bramble bushes  to stop me from careening head first down a cliff. Absolutely the most terrifying moment of my life to date.

 Three people whose acquaintance I casually met earlier helped get me out - and it took about a half hour to figure how and get me out. One woman (a school teacher from the bronx) and a retired cop now living in Alaska and his son who just graduated from high school managed to, with a hiking pole get me turned around and up the hill. He kept saying we should call 211, but it would take a day for them to get there on a horse down the cobblestones. I was covered in bleeding scratches from head to legs. Then the retired school teacher helped me wash all the blood off my arms, legs and face applying neosporin antibacterial ointment from her handy first aid kit. When she got to my face dripping blood from my hairline (the brambles pulled my hair to shreds) she looked in my eyes and said softly "now you know a tiny bit how Jesus felt." Wow.  How many people do I get out of purgatory for offering that up? How does that work?

   Shaken I still had to walk to the next town for another hour and a half to get to the Auberge where I showered sweat and residual blood off.

  "Everything happens for a reason" the friend of one of the rescuers said to me. If only I knew what.

I walked a total of 20 kilometers today- about 12 miles. (Five kilometers is three miles).
I walked from 7:30 am till 12:30 when I had lunch for about a forty five minutes with another pilgrim from Sweden, then for another 3 hours where I had the tumble-and another hour and a half on an ankle which must have been sprained somewhere on the cobblestones because it is now the size of a golf ball.

I am still processing what this all means- to pass along dos and don'ts- always have a balance walking stick or pole, don't get dehydrated into weakness, take cobblestones gingerly, and stay away from the cliff sides. Aside from that- its good to make friends along the path of life- you would be dead without them. No one can save themselves alone.

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