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Archive for July, 2017

Today I picked out my stone. I have a collection of stones that I have picked up along mountain passes and beaches thru my lifetime. Quite a few of them are from California. Many have fossils embedded in the ancient and hardened sand. That’s what I chose:  A small stone the color of blue grey with white flakes thru it…ancient shells embedded in sand that time hardened. It’s flat and round. 1.75 inches across and feels good in the hand. I picked it up on a beach in Northern California.

I will carry it now in my daypack. Carry it while I go on practice hikes here in Illinois and carry it on the plane when I head out to Southern France. I will carry it across the Pyrenees Mountains into Northern Spain. Than about 553 kilometers or 343.5 miles into the walk near Ponferrada at the highest point of El Camino in Spain, 1,530 meters above sea level (5,020 feet) I will be standing on the “Roof of the Way” in front of an iron cross perched on top of a 7 meter (23 ft ) wooden post that is surrounded by stones, stones that pilgrims (peregrinos) have left over the years.

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The iron cross, Cruz de Fierro, sits upon a point in the Leon Mountains that once had an altar dedicated to the Roman god Mercury. Now it is where pilgrims come and leave a stone from their home. The stone can symbolize a deliverance from sin or protection from the dangers encountered along El Camino. It’s what one wants it to be. For me it symbolizes the release of unneeded weight that gets in the way in life. It’s an offering to all that have traveled this road thru the millenniums.

 

“When I let go of what I am,

I become what I might be.

When I let go of what I have,

I receive what I need.”

                                                                             — Lo Tzu

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned,

so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

                                                                                            — Joseph Campbell

 

Notes:

Photograph of Cruz de Fierro by Guillermo Gutierrez, 2015

Ramos, Sergi.  Camino de Santiago. 2014

http://www.cyclefiesta.com

http://www.caminoways.com

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Santiago, A Coruña

In August 2015 my husband told me that he was going to do something stupid. “What?” I asked him.   “Quit my job and walk El Camino.” He answered.

“That’s the smartest thing that I’ve heard in a long time.” I told him.

Since the “down turn” in jobs and getting caught in the whirl wind of job after job after job in the world of Private Equity Firms where companies are flipped and people let go for no good reason we both were tired and going a bit insane.

My husband had wanted to walk El Camino (The Way) since he was a boy. When we first met he told me about it.  I, an avid backpacker at the time, was intrigued. Our plan had been to do this together…Someday.  Careers, a daughter, life and all its insanity just got in the way of walking The Way.

I was not ready to walk with him in 2015, bad knees and so out of shape. Besides this was a time that he needed—by himself.  So…in October of 2015 he left for Saint-Jean-Pied-De-Port, France to start his walk and I later met up with him at the end of November, in Santiago de Compostela where he ended his 500-mile walk. To his discernment I was already planning to get myself in shape and walk El Camino with him in 2017.

So here we are…in two months (September 2017) I will be in France with my husband and walk the 600 miles to the End of the World, Finisterre.   We actually plan to continue on to Muxia then bus back to Santiago de Compostela and travel a bit more (by bus, train and plane) before we end up in Madrid.

It’s been a good year training and getting into shape. I loved my time in Spain two years ago and look forward to going back…this time seeing this lovely and culturally diverse country in a more intimate way.  I also look forward to enjoying the wine, pulpo (octopus), and olives! … And of course so much more!

This blog will be a chronicle of my time walking El Camino. I am more of a photographer than a writer so I hope to fill the pages with photos more than words. To do this I needed to get a camera that was compact and shot RAW. I ended up with a Sony.  It’s a great camera and though I do miss my DSLR and lenses, I am happy that I won’t have the size and weight to deal with yet still a good quality camera.

Some references:

Movie:   The Way   Produced by Emilio Estevez, Staring Martin Sheen

Websites:

www.MarciaGutierrezPhotography.com (Photos of the trip will later be placed on                                                                            this site)

www.americanpilgrims.org

Books:

Ramis, Sergi. Camino de Santiago

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