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Pilgrim Wonder  

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After 180 miles and 27 days, we arrived in Santiago this afternoon, full of gratitude for what we've done and also sad that it's over.

We're also very happy to be with our daughter Emily, who has been traveling in Europe and decided to join us for three days in Santiago before our return home on Friday. She also surprised us by meeting us about a mile before we reached the end!

Blessings abound!

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

When we arrived in the city of A Guarda in the early afternoon, we came across folks--young and old--hard at work in the middle of the main street. The street had been closed to cars, and they were placing objects on the ground. Youngsters were placing acorns along the outlines of a chalk design, and in the middle, older folks were laying flowers within the chalk lines.

It turns out they were fulfilling an old tradition in the city that is part of the Roman Catholic Festival of the Holy of Holies. After the designs are filled with flowers and grass, the extra space is filled in with chopped hay to form carpets that lead all the way up the street to the church.

In the evening, a procession led by musicians and then children (including angels!) walked up the carpet, stopping for rituals at a convent chapel and finally at the main church.

It was very special to witness so many people working for hours together. And what a blessed tradition. All that work for just a few minutes of fulfillment in the love of God. By bedtime, the streets had been cleaned of the carpets. It reminded me of the Tibetan monks spending days making sand mandalas before blowing them away.

Such beauty... so fragile... like life itself.

We have had good walking weather mostly--temps in the 60s, a good amount of cloud cover for shade, rain usually when we're indoors.

And yet no matter the weather, no matter the elevation, no matter the state of our muscles, our constant is putting one foot in front of the other. The biggest variable is our attitude.

We have the choice to nurse the negativity, which is always available, or open to the whole of the moment. This is not to deny the discomfort or the worry or whatever else stokes the negativity. It is just to allow ourselves to not be limited to just that.

To feel the power of the sea:

Or the beauty of flowers

Or gratitude for those we walk with, even in the rain:

May we all count our blessings.

Ps. We arrived today in Caminha, Portugal, from where we will cross the river Coura tomorrow and enter Spain. Onward to Santiago!

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