18 May 2015

Pilgrim's Progress 3

Today, Monday 18th May 2015, we reached the Cruz de Ferro, at 1528 meters, in perfect weather for walking just as the sun was kissing the earth. As I approached it, a line from a Cliff Richard song suddenly went through my head, "Lord you have so many angels in heaven, why did you have to take the only one I have ever known?" and the tears began to flow!
I dropped my pack, had a short drink of water, took my hat off and stood before the cross and sang in a clear voice the whole three verses of the Pilgrims Hymn. When I got to the last line I cracked and began to weep in earnest. After a moment I grabbed the Bears and said," come on bears, we've come a long way to do this, let's do it!" I went to the foot of the cross and sat them there and then placed the  stone from Hanna's birthplace on a rock in front of them and then read aloud the necessary prayer, amending it as follows: " Lord may this stone, a symbol of my and my dear departed soul mate, Hanna's, efforts on the pilgrimage that I lay at the foot of the cross of the Saviour, one day weigh the balance in favour of our good deeds when the deeds of our lives are judged. Let it be so. Amen."
Unashamedly I wept, took a quick picture of the Bears then we sat by my pack and cried.
When I'd recovered my composure I had one last act to perform for a friend who had given me an envelope with a letter she wanted burnt somewhere on the Camino. I said that I would do it here. I found a young German pilgrim to take a photo of me while I was doing it. Quietly I prayed that what every she had wanted to unburden would be granted her, as I burnt the envelope.
Our mission accomplished we could continue and so without further ado we set off down the mountain. 
I did not feel relieved or have a religious experience, I now just felt drained and very weary. Each step seemed hard, yet the going was easy enough at this stage. Not until much later when we got to El Acebo and stopped for coffee, orange juice and a tortilla did I feel better. The route was steep in parts and so one had to take extra care not to twist an ankle or a knee. 
On the way down an Irishman "M" stopped as he passed me to shake my hand and thank me for the wonderful singing at the Cruz de Ferro. A little later a Frenchman I also knew stopped and thanked me for the very emotive singing!
For my part I was rewarded by the views of God's Earth in the warm sunshine.

                      The Roman bridge leading into Molinaseca
By the time we had got across the bridge in Molinaseca we had had enough and on the way to finding the municipal Albergue, "M" the Irishman stopped me to invite me to have a beer with him later at 18:00hrs. 

I must have looked all in when I got there, for the hospitalero carried my bag up the two flights of stairs to our bed. We were the first to arrive too.
It's been an emotionally charged day, but one that has exceeded my expectations. God's Earth is good and the people on and along the Camino, also!
Buen Camino

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