This day’s walk had been short in distance; as I knew it would be. I found myself in O’Pedrouso by 10:30am, and waiting outside the Albergue Edreira until noon, which is when they open. I sat it out with the company of four, fifteen year-old girls, and their two adult, female escorts. I have found, in the last thirty days, that putting together any number of Spanish citizens leads to verbal chaos. I’m sure part of the chaos is simply artificial; the fact that I do not understand Spanish well enough to know what the line of discourse is with any certainty. The other part of the chaos is well-founded though. Inevitably, everyone in a conversing group is speaking at the same time, and it’ not just a few moments of disorganized conversation while searching for a common subject, or a contradicting discourse that invariably fades away. No, what we have and maintained quite well by all participating is a competent, common chorus of cacophony. It can go on indefinitely, and to the apparent pleasure of all. I also notice that inevitably a male in the conversing group needs to be male; his voice noticeably becoming louder like some bull in the field noting his dominance over the grass surrounding him; few pay attention except the weak of spirit.
The walk was pleasant. The early morning was cool, with a light breeze, as I left Arzua; traveling down its main street, Calle de Lugo, in the relative dark. Taking the marker that directed all pilgrims off the main street, I plunged downward through an old barrio that has since gone into great disrepair; a tangle of small, crumbling residences and the farm plots that had either gone to weed, or were struggling to yield good fruit from the still fertile soil. As I walked alongside an old, stone wall on my left, it was here, while my attention was so precisely tuned to looking for the typically faded, yellow arrows of The Way, that my whole presence seemed to be drawn to something above the broken, moss-covered wall; just beyond my reach and at the edge of a small field of corn that was perhaps twenty-four inches tall. There, in its solitude, was a small rose bush – totally out of place – and upon each of the rose bushes three, leafless branches bloomed a white rose; three white roses.
We all can see things as we wish. We can see hope where there is none, and we can see loss in wondrous events. It is all up to our inspiration or lack thereof. What I saw here was the Trinity, and a word from God that told me that in the most desperate of places – where man has all but given in to the forces that bind him and destroy his stewardship – He is there. God is there in all things and places and conditions. We cannot drive Him away in disgust of our fallen nature simply because He is love, and He has created us to be with Him. That is why God sent Christ to us, in the flesh, to serve as the Good News, the Gospel, for mankind. And that Good News is the knowledge that God has brought forth a new Adam, a new creation, and a new world through which mankind might find redemption, peace and eternal life in His kingdom. Christ is the fulfillment of the Torah, the personification of the Torah, and the presence of the Torah. Christ is The Way and we are The Church.
I’d have to say that this lowly moment with that rose bush gave me quite a lift for the walk that came the next four hours. Inspired, yes. Positive, yes. Real, yes.
What was most pleasurable as the walk progressed were the constant, deep forests through which the Camino passed. As the sun rose to prominence and bore down upon the land with its heat and glare, the forests remained cool, dark, and peaceful. All of Galicia that I have experienced from O’Cebreiro to O’Pedrouso has been a continuum of a mystical land that, from God’s rooftop in O’Cebreiro, appeared as an undulating, turbulent landscape where the morning mists would turn the mountain tops into islands. Below the surface, the forests are thick, and clearings have obviously been forged by man for farmland and towns. So much is crammed into what seems so little; with the roads or “ruas” winding, converging, and going their own way to some private place in the remote. It’s really quite something. Perhaps at some point in the near future I can compare and contrast the different regions I have walked.
As for now, I’m comfortably ensconced in my Albergue for the evening. Tomorrow is a big day; the final day of The Way of Saint James. It’s only this, and nothing else, that ends. One’s pilgrimage and journey to God’s will is forever in this world; with rest coming in His kingdom.
I look forward to talking about Santiago de Compostela, and more important, the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela in my next couple of posts. I hope to attend Mass this Sunday; where I will have the opportunity to enter the crypt of St. James, and kneel before his casket in a brief prayer and request for blessing.
Love and God Bless – Reese