Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day 6 - the Cruz de Ferro

It was a quiet solitary afternoon stroll from my albergue in Foncebadon. The Mount Igaro albergue was named after this peak, home of this old cross. The lush green slopes reminded me of Appalachia and I wondered what it looks like when leaves change colors.

And then after 2.3km, I saw it. I paused as I came upon the cross. I took photos and prayed. In a prior blog, I mentioned that many bring a stone to leave at this cross. The idea is to something behind. For me, it means to leave your griefs and all that weigh you down at the foot of this enormous cross. I walked up the hill of rocks to lay down my stone.

And I broke down. I sobbed and gasped for air. I wept as though I lost a family member. I had of course, and I prayed for Tim and all who have asked for my prayers.

I never imagined this deep crying. I perhaps thought I would shed a tear, as I am now as I write this. But it was far more intense. I saw the prayers of millions in stark physical reality. This massive pile of rocks at the foot of the cross was an Olympian prayer list and the implication of the enormity of grief overwhelmed me.

I wanted to pray for everyone. True I had my own stone representing my petitions, but look at this: It was just one of So. Many. Stones. I touched the cross, came down off the pile, and pulled myself together, thankful that others didn't watch me.

And then I recreated the scene on video.

Why would I do that?

What perverse mind takes a humbling intimate moment and shares it out?

I didn't film myself crying or fake crying. I filmed myself as a pilgrim leaving the rock and praying briefly, as I imagined I would.

I think I filmed because I felt it important to remember my sanitized version, my stoic prayer, my strong self. I wanted that to contrast with the humble creature who only I know, saw, heard, tasted this day.

I picnicked near the foot of the cross, breaking bread with all who I love, in spirit. The goat cheese was perfect. The clouds were trying to let the sun peep through to warm my cold flesh.

But it couldn't. It started to rain. And like some sign of a baptismal renewal, I was offered water to finish the cleansing, to be reborn in a pure and simple fashion.

This Peregrino then picked up some litter and walked down the mountain back to my cot for a confusing, restless nap.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this very personal moment with those of us who won't have this experience ourselves.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Phyllis. It means much to me