Santiago!! A Life Changer

Today is the feast of St. James--
Santiago in Spanish. Santiago Matamoros is Patron Saint of Spain.

Regular readers might recall that y'all's Aunty mentioned I'se done a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Northwestern Spain, the Way of St. James, or simply The Camino. It's a very ancient pilgrimage route, from France, over the Pyrenees into Spain, then 400 miles across the country to the province of Galicia, where the great Cathedral of Santiago enshrines the bones of St. James, the Apostle.( St. James the Greater, as there were two apostles named James).

To this day I can weep at the sight of the Pilgrimage shell symbol, or become weak with longing at at the memory of the monastery at Roncesvalles, her spires rising above the mountain mist.

Thar' be events in a person's life that changes 'em forever more--an' this pilgrimage is such an event fer me. Even a'fore I set mah boot on the first step along that ancient path, I knowed, I ain't comin' back the same as I go.

( others have felt the same--here's a link to author Paul Coehelo's comment on his pilgrimage)

A'fore I crossed the Pyrenees on foot (I have a witness!) I wuz a dreaded obnoxious religious-y lady, an' that ain't much changed ( I see ya noddin' yore haids!) but what do be different now is that I is keenly aware of how to gauge mah own inner strengths an' failings. The gift is knowin' what ya can endure, what ya need, versus what ya want, respect for the individual walk each soul must make--folks can walk side by side but each must summon the will to pick up the next foot and put it down one step at a time. Self knowledge is often hard come by...the Camino is no less demandin' than other life events, but joyous consolations accompany this inward discovery.

Along the Camino, I met a cavalcade of characters, an' some mayhap were angels in disguise--hospitality is an enduring obligation an' honor to perform for pilgrims. Someday, mebbe one our bloggers will be trudgin' along the path, an it will be Aunty at the end of yore day ladling out yore sopa de gallo.

Pilgrimage a is metaphor our journey through this world. What sort of pilgrimage have ya' made yoreself? What sort do ya hope to make some day? Would ya' share some life-changing journey wif' us?

Below is some random photos from a SECOND journey along The Way of St. James. And, heaven willin', soon I want to make that pilgrimage again.

Another video--I doan know any of these folks...jes' a great overview:


Aunty Belle said...

I'd give near 'bout anythang to be lacin' up mah boots an' headin' out along the Camino. Iffin' ever ya have the time, do yoreself a wunnerful favor, an' make this journey. Ya' wona regret it. I promise...ya' woan regret it.

moi said...

It would take a lot for me to fly in a tin can over the ocean, but I'd do it for this experience. How wonderful that you got to make the trek.

Debora said...

Oh Aunty, that pilgrimage looks like a wonderful adventure! I've never heard of it before, but now I won't be able to forget it! Though I've traveled a fair bit, nothing has been life-changing. My journey from the corporate world to educating poor children certain has changed my life and my heart though. When you work every day with a very poor child, seeing the almost insurmountable obstacles she faces, but knowing her beauty and potential-- you allow your heart to break...that's what makes you fit to set out to try and help her beat the deck that's stacked against her. It's sometimes a losing game; but occasionally we win...and that is a sweet victory--worth all the effort and every tear you've shed along the way!

chickory said...

WHen do we leave AUnty! I am ready to roll. just beautiful...and im sure you were very fit when you returned.

I decided not to put my blog on hiatus, instead i am posting every night the process of painting Flannery. as her number one fan, I hope you will join me each day to see what i accomplished. its no Camino -but it is a journey and a bit of a meditation too -as spending every day with Flannery would be.

Jenny said...

Wonderful post, Aunty. I love your passion for your pilgrimage to Spain. I had no idea Spain was so beautiful. I would have thought Italy or France would have called to you more, but now I undestand why this was your choice.

fishy said...

It's a present to us all for you to share the wonder of this pilgrimage.

I am going to France this Autumn.
I will spend only one day hiking. But! The location for this hike is part of the camino. Maybe I will get an angelic escort!

Anonymous said...

I drove from South Texas to Troll County in August in a moving truck without AC once. Does that count?

Aunty Belle said...

oh you'd be awesome on this Camino--the hike will have a bit of challenge in some spots, but mostly, yore runnin' prowess will make this path a delightful romp through stunnin' scenery. Heart-stoppin', truly. Oh, an LOTS of friendly dawgs along the way.

youre journey from corporate to education is QUITE a journey--an' I know this is more rewardin'. Them is fortunate to have ya'. Bless ya Sweet Lady!


Lace up yore boots an' let's us git on down the road! Now--doan tempt me none, cause I'se always reining in mah wanderlust, an' Spain?? Oh Mercy, I long fer it's misty villages. Even the Eau de Vaca woan put me off much
( assumin' of course that I has mah H scarf to pull up over mah nose. Gerhahahaha!)

I'se fascinated by yore Flannery process. Watchin' with glee.


I done left a part of mah heart in Spain--life has hurled me over to France, Spain, Itlay on semi-regular basis...an' they's all
unforgettable...but Espana? somethin' about it's soul. It is an oddly masculine country--France is definitely feminine in soul. Italy is artistic, visceral, very pleasurable for all the senses.

Spain has a certain stoicism born of its inner awareness. It appreciates the dance, but is not hostage to it. In parts of Spain the people are so utterly unimpressed wif' any modern schnizz that it refreshes mah hope.


Now looky heah, t'would be a real mismatch iffin' we doan rendezvous in La Belle France. Mini Summit, yeah! I'se SO HAPPY youse gonna git on the French Road (part of the camino) I ain't ever done the traditional French path down to Spain, an some day I MUST do it. Lucky Fishy! Take photos of every turn in the road, please.

that do sound like a life THREATENING journey! But...c'mon, what's the best journey ya ever made?

Katie's Design Perspective said...

Is there a word more French sounding than rondezvous?

Obviously we must!

Maybe we should match up our itineraries and see iffen this is even possible. Would that be magic or what? I'll send an e-mail to ya.

Pam said...

Aunty, I'll come walk it with you sometime. Would love to do this if I had a bunch of spare time to do so. We actually go to a church called St James. And I know a guy (may have mentioned before?) who used to work where I do, but married a Spanish girl, and guess what, now lives in that exact town. I bet he'd buy us a drink. Such a beautiful pilgrimage. Have you done any others? I thank you very much again for all the prayers for Baby Caleb and Kymmie's family. Keep them up! Still issues to be resolved and all prayers appreciated.

LaDivaCucina said...

Aunty, I envy your ability to travel so frequently. I used to travel a lot but things have changed and even short trips are difficult for now, so I really appreciate your photos and posts. Looks beautiful, thanks for sharing!

I did a seven month trip in a van around Australia back in the early 90's. It was not so much a pilgrimage as an endurance test. I made it, the marriage didn't. (yep, first husband again!)