the del Norte/Primitivo route.
Spain: From Irun to Santiago de Compostela, 500 miles.
Post 8; June 7, 2016, Tuesday. Six days til we go.
What is the Way of St. James?
On Tuesday, June 7th, 2016, I was sitting at the 18th Street Coffee House, the best coffee house in Santa Monica, and I was specifically sitting at the red table, working on my sequel to The Problem Solver. The red table is famous. Some of us made it famous. If you sit at the red table, you shall receive breakthroughs on whatever creative endeavor you are engaged in, but only if you know the secret password, and, it helps it you are a member of the secret society, The Winklings. It takes much courage to be a member of The Winklings (and the ability to wink properly). Anyway, there I was, and Erica, Brandon, and later Tiffany were hard at work serving the various patrons, laptops open, discussions ablazin’, problems being solved and creations being . . . created.
And someone, a trainer named Kimberly, asked me what is the Way of St. James. And I said something profound like: I don’t know. Because I was thinking that based on my 2014 experience, the Way of St. James is exciting and wonderful, and different for each person. And, then I told Kimberly that I would tell her more after I’ve been on it for a few weeks. Which I now have, because it is July 1st, and I’m still thinking of finally leaving this most wonderful town of Santillana del Mar, population about 1300, and home of the great Collegiate Church, and the place that I had two great days of Camino life on June 29 and 30.
By now, I have spoken to dozens of friends and fellow pilgrims who have made the deeply personal decision to spend a considerable amount of time, about six weeks, trekking all the way across the north of Spain, in this case, the Northern route of the Way of St. James from Irun to Santiago de Compostela, about 500 miles (if you never step off the path), but closer to 600 miles of actual distance and mileage. On foot, did I say. And, depending on your pace, expect blisters, sore knees, legs, shoulders and other areas of the body. Expect every kind of weather possible, serious cold and rain, serious heat and sun, wind, fog, clouds, and some of the very best weather possible, where at times you feel you have found heaven. And having just asked about five fellow pilgrims sitting around me here at this little café across from the Collegiate Church of Santillana, originally a monastery and converted to a church in the mid 12th century ( where Baby Doe 1 had some major breakthroughs over the last couple of days), I still, only know, that the Camino, the Way of St. James, is a very personal journey where people go, are “self-selected,” to find answers to life’s questions while blessed on a path that is, indeed, clearly and profoundly blessed and set apart for those that want to take this incredible journey to Santiago de Compostela, and when they get there, go into the Cathedral and hug St. James, and thank Him, maybe talk to him, and realize that you are part of something that has been going on since on or about the year 813 when a hermit, Pelayo, had a vision in which a star shined brightly leading him to a field and there, after digging, discovered the bones of St. James, long ago buried there, where now the great Cathedral of St. James stands so beautifully.
I learned from my 2014 Camino that, it’s best not to talk someone into doing the Camino. You need to be called to do the Camino. It’s best if you feel . . . it’s time to get answers to some big questions in your life, and you want some help from God, and one of his disciples,
St. James, the apostle.
. . .