I was anxious this morning, wondering if my blisters would return. I walked my normal pace, but every time I felt like my feet motions might be encouraging blisters, I slowed and adjusted. At breaks, I took off the docks and checked the Vaseline and lotion. By the end of the day, all stick looked good so I'm hopeful.
It took an hour to walk outside of Burgos city limits but once I did, it soon started to feel very Meseta. The Meseta is the wide open plain that stretches across until after Astorga over a week away.
The villages are tiny, sort of like Route 66 highway posts that sprout up just to provide relief and fuel for the traveler in the Southwest USA. My Hornillos de la Camino destination has a population of just 400 and frankly that seems optimistic.
I ran into Mike who I met in Puente La Reina, whose niece lives in Pasadena. I met Manuel from Valencia who is just taking a long weekend to walk through Sunday. And I ran into Uli from Bavaria. We had a great post lunch conversation at the only bar in town and she had me order a half lemonade half beer concoction that is apparently popular here and quite refreshing.
I picnicked at the stream. What a delight.
Tried to nap but albergues can be noisy. I thought I would luck out since my room of 10 had mostly older folks, but they gabbed on in the room instead of in the common room. I went back to the bar for a pizza and Coke dinner and met Therese from Saint Louis. She, a 60 year old, walked from Saint Jean with her youngest daughter (her middle child did the Camino in 2007), and as her child had to go back to work, she will continue on from Burgos alone. We talked about the wonderful light that is Daniel, who she like other peregrinos are seeing on his crutches.
One small event has me wondering about what we do and don't do. As I was reaching the top of a slowly rising hill and the temperatures were rising nicely, I saw a Fuente oasis in the fields. I had a full 2 liter bottle of water, having replenished during breakfast and accustomed to walking in the heat. I didn't need to stop, but the oasis of trees was pretty, I made great time, and I thought why not? So I sauntered over and rested in the gentle wind amongst the trees. A few complained about the fact that, unlike the name, there actually was no water here.
But something felt, I don't know, like the Holy Spirit was present so I dawdled and chatted, soaking in that feeling. Soon a young woman walked to the stop and looked for water. I said that there wasn't any and she looked quite frustrated. I asked where she was from, and she indicated that she's from Trieste (Italy) and was trying to finish the whole Camino before her new job started.
Because she looked anxious and knowing the feeling from just a couple weeks ago, I offered her water. She only had an empty 1 pint water bottle! I filled it for her from mine and she drank half of it, whereupon I topped it off again. She was quite grateful and thanked me profusely.
She asked me where I started. When her eyes lit up as I said Lourdes, I thought I'd offer her some of the water.
And she burst into tears.
Sh hugged me for two minutes crying. I don't know why the water from Lourdes could cause such a reaction, and I was uncomfortable because I thought I maybe touched an unwanted raw nerve, but she just wept.
Finally she thanked me for appearing like an angel in her life, sipped the water, and had some applied on her forehead. Given the language difficulties, I could only ask if she were ok and she just nodded. I never asked her name and soon she walked on as I sat pondering what happened.
While I walked that last hour of my day, while I sat at the stream, while I watched the sunset, I wondered about the pains, health issues, and hurts we carry silently. Sometimes we do a darn good job hiding them but when distressed, such as physical duress or thirst, we crack and it all comes out. I didn't know why she cried. I still don't know why she cried.
But I decided I don't need to know. I didn't need to be at that Fuente at that point in time. And it didn't have to be me who shared water with her.
I just needed to be present. Present at the Fuente. Present when need appeared. Present.
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