Thursday, July 24, 2014

Home is the sailor home from the sea, and the hunter (pilgrim) home from the hill

Where Robin and I like to hang out when not on the camino
A tip of the hat to Robert Louis Stevenson's epitaph, and apologies for the bit of editorial license taken. This post is about home, and homecoming, and RLS's epitaph just seemed to fit. Robin and I have now been back for 13 days. We left our home in Vancouver, Washington on April 23rd, walked for 63 days, took 17 days for travel and rest, and returned home on July 11th. If my math is correct we were away for 80 days. This is the longest I have been away from home since I stopped going to sea. We have walked other caminos, where we were away for half of this time, and always re-entered our home lives without any issues. This trip was different. Walking as part of a pilgrim community for over 2 months seems to have allowed just enough time for me to get comfortable with a very satisfying, and unique, environment, which has made leaving it all the more difficult. Obviously, this is very specific to me. Even Robin seems to be integrating easier than I am. Don't misread me. I am not ready for therapy. But, the pace of the life we dropped back into just seems faster, more frantic, and surprisingly less pleasant. I am sure, in time, the sharp distinctions I now harbor will blur so that what I first saw as odd will, sadly, seem quite ordinary. It is curious that we have only been away for just short of 3 months, and yet this distinction has appeared. This sort of taps the hornets nest, and begs the question of what makes us happy. Robin and I have a comfortable life. But, our camino experiences have thankfully skewed the math so that less (stuff) actually equals more (happiness). Yes, we are happy to be back in our home, but the lure of the simplicity of the camino is always present. Off again? Time will tell. For now, our camino gear has been cleaned, and stowed (yet always at hand), and we are simply enjoying the beautiful summer weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Memories are fresh with many remarkable moments of our recent time in France and Spain. These will continue to warm our hearts even as summer fades, and the arrival of the first chill of winter reminds us that change is always in the air.

What we think of when on the camino

St. James icon
Glass transom over our front door
What we think of when we are home

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