On Sunday, we visited a different church. When we picked Asher up from the nursery, the lady said brightly, “I can tell he is used to going different places, he just did great, no problems at all.” I smiled and affirmed that he is easygoing but inside my heart twisted for my little boy, who has moved more in his short life than I did in my first quarter century. He’s never known anything but different places and the worst part of it is: there is no end in sight.

On the second day of Camino, a blister started forming on the bottom of my foot. I ignored it as long as I could but finally stopped to drain it. I bandaged it as well as possible and continued on. It felt better for a bit but then started to hurt again. I drained it again, bandaged, walked…but after that it turned into a blood blister. I wasn’t sure what to do with a blood blister so I hobbled the rest of the day, miles and miles, in utter agony, until we came to Astorga. I would have loved to stop along the way but there was nowhere to do so, I just had to keep going. Some medical people cared for my foot in Astorga but that sort of healing takes a long time. The next day I set out wounded.

We were headed to Foncebadon. Though we started out early, the trek was long and my feet hurt badly. But there was just nothing to be done but keep going. Even though it was hot and even though we had to go 7k (about 4 miles) up a very steep hill, one you nearly had to crawl up, one referred to by a member of our group as “the face of death.” No point in stopping – you would still be hot and tired and you would lose what momentum you had. So I kept going. Even though I wanted to lay down and die, I knew I couldn’t. I mean, I could do the laying down but was unlikely to actually die, and then I would just be stuck in the middle of nowhere in Spain. So I kept walking until I got to Foncebadon.

Same for every day after that, just keep going til you get to your destination. Just keep going because if you don’t you are stranded in very rural Spain. There’s nothing else you can do. Then you get up the next day and do it again.

And that is what I’m doing now: Just keep going. My feet are bleeding and my arches are tearing and and my tendons are on fire and my knees feel like they have knives in them and my hips have weeping sores from my pack and speaking of my pack, it’s heavy and my shoulders ache and IT IS SO FREAKING HOT and I’m thirsty but my Nalgene is already empty and none of the water we pass is potable and I am just going to carry on because thousands, millions of people have done this before me for thousands of years and somehow they survived and I will too. I just have to keep putting my feet down, tired as they are, one in front of the other, until I get to wherever it is that I’m going, because even though there is no end in sight I know that eventually I have to get SOMEWHERE if I just keep walking. Maybe it is a tiny little town on the top of a steep, steep hill but I won’t even check for bedbugs because I will be so happy, grateful to get a bed.

To peregrinos – pilgrims – Foncebadon means an arduous day but it also means a decent shower and communal dinner at the end of it. Then after exhausted sleep, you get up the next morning and do it again.

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