My last night in Leon and I was clearly ready to get back on the Camino. I’d rested my feet long enough. They’re not in great shape, but much better than when I arrived. I turned in – lights out – at 10:00pm, with a wake-up at 5:45am. Packed my backpack that evening; carefully inventorying what I had and what I needed. All in order. I’d take care of my feet infirmities in the morning, so I left out the medical tape and scissors. Now I needed just one more thing…. perhaps all of Leon could quit partying out there on the streets of the old city.
Well, that was not to be had this evening. This was a festival weekend, and all of the nearby streets to the Leon Cathedral were full of people. And when I say they partied all night, I mean all night. On a couple of occasions I awoke; at about 2:00am, then again at 3:35am, and once more about 4:15am. Each time I was melodiously met with people’s voices, shouts, and mutual singing. At the earlier times, there was even live music in the streets; calling us all to a Leonese conga line. I swear at one moment I heard the “clickity click” of at least 1000 senoritas working their castanets. I was seriously tempted to join in this nocturnal madness, but took some measure of my future daybreak and task ahead. I slept on.
At 5:45am, my wristwatch alarm went off. I laid there for a minute, letting my senses acclimate to my surroundings, and for a moment I thought I heard silence. Leon had gone home to bed…… no, no they had not. Still out there! To their good report, when I took to the Camino that wound itself past the Cathedral, San Isodore, and the Hostal de San Marcos, the final gasps of dragons ( get it… “drag ons”) were returning to their caves, and the street cleaners were out in force with over-sized brooms and water hoses. It was nippy morning. I pulled my hood over my head and sucked my hands up into the sleeves of my coat. I headed out of town, happy to be back on the Camino – for sure.
Getting out of town took several kilometers of commercial zone to wash past me; as if I was cleansing myself for the hopeful, remote countryside I was promised in my guidebook. And it did come. I was indeed out of the Meseta from the past week, and had entered a new land; one I am told has belonged to the Maragatos – a resilient ethnic and cultural society – for over a century. The landscape was rougher, more trees mixed with fields, and the architecture seemed more rudimentary; especially the oldest records of the architecture – the churches.
It is good to get back out here – on The Way. It is always comforting to come back to the discipline. One knows what’s there. One knows what to expect. One can look behind to see where they’ve been, and look forward to see what’s ahead. Things do feel decidedly different, and they are. When I left St. Jean Pied de Port on May 31st, I was quite a different person from who I am now. I do hope it is a difference that pleases God, and brings me another step closer to His will. I do know I am happy and at peace here as I write this post to you all. There is still suffering ahead. I’ve got a long way to go, but for now,
“I thank you Lord for your provisions, your mercy, and your good counsel.”
Through God’s grace, I am justified. Now I must walk out that which I seek – sanctification.
Love and God Bless – Reese