Not Actually Walking The Camino.

I have been debating internally for a while about whether or not to start writing my blog again.

I have loved writing it in the past, although it is hard to tell whether it is a useful thing to do given the state of the world, and how small my little patch is in the larger scale of things. All the same I have decided to write again if for no other reason than the sheer pleasure of forming words around my thoughts and experiences.

It was never a decision to stop forever, but rather a reaction of exhaustion and grief in radically changed circumstances.  Adjusting took longer than I thought it would, and so it fell silent.

I have learnt much in the ensuing months, and I guess the new learning will express itself along the way, in my perspectives on life. I don’t intend to deliberately explore it all here – it is a bit raw for that. Suffice it to say, that my husband is well after a long period of recovery from surgery, and my mum has stabilised after her stroke and the events that followed it, and some remarkably skilled interventions since.

Two friends have each walked the Camino in the last two years. I have been envious I will admit, as it was one of the things I hoped to do in my retirement, but my body aged faster than my plans and it was no longer possible. I found myself wanting to live vicariously through their journeys. It was quite a struggle to find out how to turn that around for myself so that it became a growth moment.

The first dear friend brought me back a pair of ear-rings from the end of her walk. One day as I was putting them on, it occurred to me that there are many forms of long roads that we walk alone, even though in company, and some of them are steep and hard but have beautiful times as well. Since then, I wear my Camino ear-rings often, especially on days that might prove to be challenging. They remind me that for the present, this life right here is my Camino.  I don’t always make it with grace and good cheer, and sometimes not even with dignity, but I guess there are few who sail through any Camino unscathed and they all celebrate it in the end.

And so it is in Stroud Street, Cheltenham.

The clacketty bird has come again with the spring and woken me with its exuberant noise, and now it has moved on and the magpies have followed it in a quieter voice. Two babies have been born in another generation of our extended family (both with excellent taste in parents), the pansies have died off and the petunias are in, and I walk the little dog in sunshine rather than in the rain and wind, which in the end I have learned have their own pleasure.

The wheel turns and everything is in its right season whether or not I approve, accept, fight or love it. Time to take off my shoes and see again.

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About Pauline Small

After a forty year career in teaching, I am now able to pursue my other love - writing as a form of exploring the depths of life's experiences.
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6 Responses to Not Actually Walking The Camino.

  1. Chrissy Hemphill says:

    Glad to see you back, & look forward to your reflections. Grief & growth are savoured after much reflection with oneself xox

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  2. Audrey says:

    I love reading your posts Pauline. You have a beautiful way of writing your ideas that spark reactions, thoughts, reflections for me. Thank you.

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  3. What a lovely post, Pauline. I’m so glad you’ve decided to keep writing. I love your sense of the seasons, the time for everything, the way things shake themselves down in our lives. The Camino has been on my list, too, but I think I have to wave the flag on that as well. I’m not taking it as graciously as you, though! Thanks!

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    • Oh Robyn, it has taken a long time to accept that one. I barely make 1km on a good day. I have the family knees… there is a last 100 km section that is a traditional walk if you could do that much. Thanks for your encouragement along the way.

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  4. Meg says:

    So glad you’re posting again, Paul, though it’s easy to see why you needed to stop for a while.
    With thanks and love, Meg

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