Camino Collection and Corrick’s Culture

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For this post I’ve decided to back carefully out of the darker underworld of the Screwtape for Artists letters, and turn to brighter horizons. I’ve gathered my Camino de Santiago posts from last year into one chronological story for you. The photos give me a little spirit whiff  again of wheat fields, wine, virgins, horizons. For a moment I was back in the land of blossoms and boots, mazes and muses. I hope you enjoy them.
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I have a show hosted by the lovely people at Corricks featuring Sonoma County Art Trails artists.  It’s me and the amazing Joel Bennett. Hope you can make it on Friday, if you’re in the area.  Spring is almost here, a good  time to consider your upcoming pilgrimage, wherever it may take you. Suzanne
Bennett & Edminster Poster

My Camino Experience

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I´m heading out of this gorgeous station in Porto, Portugal to catch an overnight train to Madrid, a sleeper.  I can count on the fingers of one hand my overnight trains– once to Paris, once to Cochin in South India, and now once to Madrid.  There is always a romance to it, even if it´s just a little sleeping berth.  I want to wind up my Camino posts to you.  I am not really sure I can answer all your questions.  The ones about art and change will have to play out in the future.

I talked for a long time to Koos, a South African now living in Switzerland.  He hiked from Geneva to Logrono, Spain… 1200 km? A long way, anyway. He did not finish the Camino in a classical sense, yet I was struck by our similarities in experience.

What I want to say to you is this.  On the Camino, every day is like a world.  Koos and I both had the experience of worlds of thought and contemplation opening through the walking.  I see each day of the Camino like a drop of clear water teeming with event, yet magnifying a certain aspect of thought.  Connections are made.  You are walking in nature, so it´s healthy; beauty and your physical movement work together to support you.  Only connect. It´s better, for me, than writing in a notenook or talking to someone.

It´s as if you walk further into your purpose.  We lack the time for contemplation in our lives.  Walking is one way to give that time back. I believe it makes a difference that we name it a pilgrimage, and to do it for a month or more.  The historical and religious resonance supports us and makes it sacred. Everyone gets something different according to their needs; my insights might interest you, but they won´t be yours.

I´m winding up my trip now and may not write again, but I may store away some impressions for you from the Prado.  I doubt I can walk through the world´s great museums as gracefully as I did through the days of the Camino, but I can try.

We both had the experience of childhood memories comin g up.  Thereºs time to really think about them.  You are supported by the activity, so the deep emotions can come up and go through you as you walk.  Many people report memories.  And you slowly have the chance to observe how you order your world, to take little signs and signals from nature, or from the Great Mind, or God.

My next door neighbor Neil is walking the Pacific Crest Trail for five months.  I wonder if the experience is similar?

We both carried with us a list of three goals.  They are private:  I won´t share them with you, and he didn´t share his with me.  Slowly, as you carry these things with you as you might an object in your backpack, they may transform.   New metaphors, meanings, and interpretations of your life occur, all within the great open book of nature.

I think it´s important that we name it a pilgrimage.  ^The historical and religious resonances support us and gives it a lovely weight.  And it´s important to go for a month or more.

I went with the love, support, and daily Facetime conversations with my husband Scott.  Scott, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

Thank you to my readers and those who have responded.  You are part of my proof of a gloriously generous universe.   Suzanne

 

Packing for the Camino: The Seventeen Pound Riddle

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I’m leaving tomorrow! But I’ve been packing for months.

There are so many excellent packing lists online already for the Camino de Santiago that I won’t add another one. I used several of them for ideas and reference. I was aiming for a 17 pound pack and am in that range. Rather than a list of things I’m taking, I’ll share with you a list of questions I developed for each item.

Positive = Plus and Negative = Minus.  Each item had to come out strongly on the plus side.

Positive Indicators

  • Is it multifunctional? Can I use it for more than one thing? example: a tank top and shorts can double as swimsuit, while a sarong can be a towel, a seat, a privacy cover, a skirt and a shawl.
  • Will I really use it daily or almost every day? I ended up not taking a dress or skirt, as I didn’t think I’d wear them enough. I didn’t bring a tent or bivy sack.
  • Will it keep me warm and dry? I have been cold in southern European summers a lot.  I’m taking a small sleeping bag rather than a sleep sheet, and plenty of layers of clothing.
  • Will it add a lot to my physical or mental comfort? (Iphone for contact with Scott, a pillowcase, a little typing keypad for blogging on the Iphone.)

Continue reading → Packing for the Camino: The Seventeen Pound Riddle

Where a pilgrim begins

I started this pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela last year in September– in my mind. They say that the pilgrim way begins right from your front door. The post below was written in September 2013 when I first decided to start. In the meantime, I have bread dipped in Spanish olive oil, and walk among the twisted oaks of Spring Lake. Join me as I walk, write, sketch, and wander in the land of bull, oak, red wine, relics, grails, and pilgrims. Suzanne

Toward Compostela: A Pilgrim on the Starry Way

I called my niece Rachel Welsh, who is, conveniently enough, a scholar of the Middle Ages, to ask her advice on this crazed idea I had to walk the length of the Camino de Santiago.  She said, “You’ve already started your pilgrimage.”

My front steps, a winding path through an arch towards the sky. My front steps, a winding path through an arch towards the sky.

In the Middle Ages, you started from your own front door, or perhaps from the steps of your local cathedral.  Rich or poor, doing penance for sins or seeking your fortune, man, woman or child– you started where you are.  And so here is my own front door on this bright September day in Northern California, the wind whipping the rain clouds and the first reluctant leaves along the pavement. A little glitch of the light entered— a protective travel spirit?  It is the first day of fall. Or this might be the real start, the chair…

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