To understand and reconnect with our stories, the stories of the ancestors, is to build our identities – Frank Delaney.
When walking a trail so drenched in history it is surely impossible for one’s mind not to wonder at how past pilgrims confronted and overcame the daily challenges of such a journey. How did they manage to complete the pilgrimage when faced with illness, thieving bandits, isolation in the wilderness, hunger, thirst? These are questions that can only be understood and answered, in some small way, by those following in the footsteps of these ancestral pilgrims.
However much the pilgrimage has changed superficially, at its core, it remains largely unchanged. It is still a journey of individuals taking a day at a time.
Leaning on others for support.
Admiring the natural splendor that abounds.
Sharing a good meal.
Sharing a joke – and a drink.
Or in some cases, not sharing.
Meeting friends unexpectedly.
Hoping they don’t fall over.
Saturday. Day seven. Some people rest on the seventh day, not our foot-hardened pilgrims. They left their beautiful farmhouse bright and early and set off into the morning. The sun gradually rose behind them as they rose to the challenge of making it through the 32 kilometres that awaited them.
The day ended with an enormous sense of achievement and anticipation as our pilgrims reached El Amenal – a figurative stone’s throw away from Santiago. Time then, to reflect on the day and prepare for their triumphal entrance into Santiago where they will arrive to no fanfare and no acclaim save that which they bring with them themselves. There is no praise more valuable than that which comes from the self. It is a thing which no one and no thing can diminish. They might not have walked the exact same route, or suffered the same hardships, or faced the same challenges as the original pilgrims, but that is irrelevant. They have shared in the same journey – physical, mental, spiritual – and this is want matters most.
Good luck on the final day pilgrims!