It has been a wee while since my last blog and there is a simple reason in that I could not see to write these past few weeks, not long after that last post I lost my precious spectacles which has the unfortunate result of limiting my ability to read, write, focus or generally function in the modern world. With that cleared up I thought instead of listing the various activities which have filled my time recently I would write a bit about simplicity because it is the notion of ‘simple’ which has been at the forefront of my mind since returning from the Camino.
It is almost a trap, the life of a pilgrim, it begins with an early wake up, a coffee if available then a few km walk to the nearest cafe for breakfast, after that a longer stretch of walking and perhaps a second breakfast with those longer days resulting in a third. Once all was settled the walk would dig in as we continued for the longer stretch without rest until perhaps a beer or late lunch signalled the final rest before the day’s destination. The evening would consist of washing clothes and doing the chores that set one up for the following day, once business was concluded then the wine would flow and the day’s effort would be rewarded before a grateful sleep and the cycle began again.
This routine was simplicity at its finest and really didn’t require much from the worrying mind to accomplish and perhaps that is why the lifestyle is so lovable, because naturally the worry and concerns that plague our everyday existence fade into nothing without any effort to make that happen. from the ashes of that crumbling ego minded fool a more real, light hearted and capable self is born, for me it was bliss and could best described as waking up in the middle of a dream and realizing it. It was a more natural state and almost entirely effortless, the kind of place where one realizes actually and not just philosophically what is sacrificed in order to survive in modern society.
A simple walk that undid me, I didn’t have to do anything, in fact ‘I’ was the whole problem in the first place ha-ha I have (like most) heard of this ‘I’ or ‘ego’, it was understood before the Camino! but of course that was just the lie ‘I’ was telling myself in order to make the complete insanity of my existence more tolerable and to quite frankly stop being a trouble maker and marvelling at the universe and focus on that one comment, some passing stranger made three weeks ago.
So now it has been over a month and more since my return and what a strange transition it has being, if I am honest I can’t tell you if I have kept the Camino spirit alive, at times it feels like I had opened my cage door and taken flight for the first time in years only to return, close it behind me and continue to watch the world from behind bars, my wings twitching with annoyance. Yet there has been a shift, a tremendous one though it’s not always easy for me to understand it, simply put I intend to be that trouble maker, to marvel at the universe, to try new things and accept who I am without any guilt because when all is said and done that’s all there is.
Quite liberating actually, don’t get me wrong it will be a battle to establish an equilibrium, my room where I live is no Camino and the nomadic ancestors that live in my DNA certainly struggle to find meaning when scenery and settings remain the same. Therein appears the challenge I suppose, once a pilgrim always a pilgrim and its only me and nobody else who can make that reality in the here and now so that is what I am choosing to do anyway and commentating about that journey here is a pleasure in which I will continue to indulge.
For an example and on a much needed and appreciated lighter note I would like to stop belly aching about cages, wings and whatnot and speak a little about my passion, as the photograph from a portion of the Camino where we wandered through a Sweet Chestnut wilderness may suggest it concerns nature. Now of course trees are my so called ‘speciality’ because I have been lucky enough to study them and work in, on and around them for around seven years. Though I never once imagined I would as a child it turns out this was right where I was supposed to be. How do I know? Well I go where that strange butterfly feeling takes me and there are few greater ways to explore those feeling for me than exploring nature, especially trees!
Climbing a tree is like nothing else and though professionally it requires ropes and harnesses and all that ‘stuff’ there is no greater feeling for me than perching atop a branch high in the canopy and swaying with the wind… how romantic… in fact it usually involves a great deal of spiders in my hair but still! Recently on a walk along the cannel near where I live I noticed a pink Frisbee atop a Sycamore, there was no decision to be made before my bag lay on the ground and I was excitedly lunging from one branch to the next. It was covered in another type of tree we all know as Ivy forming a beautiful symbiotic relationship and providing a home for countless insects which were not all happy about the intrusion of this sweaty pilgrim but I’m sure the forgave me.
It was quite wet and a tad windy and as I stood in the highest branches, my arm outstretched, a look of fierce determination as my fingertips grasped for the shiny object I had to chase, my phone began to ring and so in perhaps the most awkward position possible I spent five minutes chatting to my dear mother while waving about a tree in the rain. However as the about photograph shows I was successful! I felt like I had just reached the days end in Spain, Santiago all over again and I am not joking haha if nothing else it is that enjoyment of life I want, the rest, well that’s just need dealing with so there is time for another adventure.
I hope you have enjoyed this read though I understand if you didn’t, honestly I am simply content with anyone who made it this far and is reading this sentence. For a heads up I recently chattered to a lovely lady who was intrigued by the Camino De Santiago and could maybe do it when the time was right, that conversation spurred me to consider writing a blog called ‘thinking about doing the Camino?’ where I can just give as much advise and suggestions (starting with ‘DO IT!!’) from my perspective to help anyone considering it. If you actually have a specific question then comment it below but otherwise I will try to remember the sorts of things I wondered before doing it, anyway spectacles are back and it’s been a pleasure 🙂