Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

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

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Stand in the forest - June 26

The walk from San Juan de Ortega started out cold and misty. We all were able to bump into each other and have a nice breakfast at Espinosa and again snack at Villafrancs de Oca. 

But I get a little uneasy going over the mountain here. It’s a place where hundreds of bodies were dumped during the Spanish civil war. To me, you feel raw pain as you walk through. It’s beautiful yes. But there’s a sadness that hangs in the air, and it haunts the walk. I feel frozen in place there, standing in sad awe of the history. I wonder why others don’t feel it. Maybe they do feel it, but it doesn’t weigh on them like it does me. Or maybe I’m just over sensitive. But death means more than the ending of a life to me. There’s ceremony and remembrance. Closure often comes from this. Without it, a hold is left gaping in the heart.

Thankfully, we move past this area and see the donativo woman of the forest. It now has warmed up and gotten sunny. She and her dogs welcome pilgrims year round. Most interestingly, her food stand is surrounded by wood totems. They’re alive with mirth and humor. 

What a contrast! Flesh turned to dust giving a feeling of sadness while wood painted to resemble flesh brings joy. All on the same mountain plateau. I hope that the souls rest in holy peace and that the families who visit that place find comfort at the food stand in the forest.

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