Friday, October 30, 2015

Crossing the frontier

High winds and heavy rain showers have been lashing the Portland / Vancouver area since last night, and are expected to persist through Saturday. While the weather outside is soaking all those who are out and about Robin and I are snug inside, the fireplace has stolen away the mid autumn chill, and we are leisurely attending to last minute gear issues. Nothing is pressing. We are just doing the final whittling down of our pack lists to make sure we have just what we need and nothing more. A cortado (short coffee with a little hot milk) seemed in order so the whir of the espresso machine has, for the moment, diverted my thoughts from overburdened feet to the pleasant feeling of something hot splashing into my stomach.

Outside our windows the storm has all of nature in motion as we too soon shall be again. It is invigorating to feel the nearness of another Camino. For better or for worse (hard to imagine, but...) our lives are tied to these pilgrimages. We give great thanks for the gift of many days on pilgrim roads, and for how these journeys have enriched us beyond measure. New friends have been found, new lands explored, many many kindnesses received, and our faith has been fundamentally strengthened. We have also honed a new sense of gratitude, and have embraced both the freedom of humbleness, and the joy found in that special peace that comes from the belief that wherever we walk we are never alone.

Plus a few things to check for Christmas in Santiago
So it is with these many warm thoughts coursing through my mind that I am simply content to be still for a moment and imagine once again the life that Robin and I so long to live that lies just on the other side of our windows, the frontier between comfort and challenge, calm and storm, that has always beckoned and has always blessed us. And so, in a few days, we shall go again. Ultreia!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Silent night

The past few months have been fun yet full of camino echoes. So Robin and I have been looking at travel plans and commitments and have decided that if we are going to walk another camino we had better do it this year so that we do not run afoul of the Schengen visa requirements next year when we return to Santiago to volunteer with the Camino Chaplaincy at the Cathedral in Santiago. So long story short we are booked to fly to Seville on November 2nd and then, God willing, we will arrive in Santiago on or about December 21st. We will then spend the Christmas holidays in Santiago and fly home on December 28th.

Robin and I are truly thankful for this opportunity to return to the camino. We are also very happy to be reprising the liturgical music "dream team" of John Rafferty (organist), Stephen Shields (tenor) and Robin Pigott (soprano). These three made some very memorable music this past summer and we hope to top that over the Christmas holidays. It will be a wonderful conclusion to our Via de la Plata and to Stephen and John's Camino Ignaciano. The pilgrim community is a curious place to inhabit. Just when one seems to feel comfortable in one's skin something calls us to move just a bit beyond our usual boundaries. This is where conventional wisdom tells us that growth is to be found. We shall see.

Robin and I have always trusted the Spirit to guide us. This pilgrimage, in that regard, will be no different. But, as always, each journey comes as it will and we simply have to embrace whatever circumstances that might draw near. So this is our approach, be open to the Spirit within us, be grateful for the strength and resources to walk, and to be mindful of those who need our prayers.  Now all Robin has to figure out is how to sing Silent Night in Spanish. But we have some time....well sort of....stay tuned!