War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele


four years ago I set out with a 10 year old soul and a 46 year old soul to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. 850 kms across Northern Spain.

some thought us mad. some thought us cruel and neglectful to take a child on such a long, long walk. many thought it was inspired. certainly the Spanish who greeted the child each and every day with a gift (candy, a holy medal, a toy, a pastry, a hug, a kiss) as we walked through their villages, thought it inspired.

the child herself loved the walk. it was tough, but we always let her lead the way. determine the distance and time we’d walk each day. and some days she beasted us. one in particular, 36 kms.

we walked 7 1/2 weeks. 2/3rds in first I, then the child got sick. a GI like the one that hit Suffield Ex in 2009. brutal, fast draining of everything within us. we spent a week with the sisters in Leon. then when we asked the child if she wanted to quit, or take a bus the final third of the journey, she said, No, I want to walk, and walk she did.

during that week in Leon, the child’s father and I learned a lesson in patience and acceptance. (at least for that part of our life). we swore we’d look upon life after as stages of the Camino and said whenever times got tough, don’t worry, we’re in Leon but it won’t last forever.

three years later, my personal life was turned upside down a few months before I flew to Afghanistan. at the staging base I met a mother who was going to fly in to bid her dead son farewell. this mother wore a t-shirt from the Camino. we got to know one another quite well as only fellow pilgrims can. I walked the Camino the year after he was killed. I learned to laugh again on the Camino. I told my son, ‘Will, I am now your eyes and your ears’ she said to me.

I am in Leon right now. it seems like it’s lasting forever. but as with the Camino, there are others to walk alongside. and sometimes we have to walk alone.

tomorrow night I have 3 actors, a guitarist, a dancer, 3 palmeras. May Day. another leg. in my Camino.

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled Camino. It was posted here on May 25, 2011.


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