There is not a day that we walk where I don’t feel excited about what we will experience that day. In this journey, we have become keenly aware of our senses and how they are being stimulated by what the Camino has to offer. As challenging as this walk has been, we find ourselves filled with gratitude each time we begin our day. Much of that gratitude comes from what we are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching as we go through this journey.
Sense of Vision- The beauty of this land surrounds us every day, and we are mesmerized by it. Miles and miles of vineyards, sunflowers, wheat and corn fields have surrounded us with their beauty and a great appreciation for agriculture. The Meseta has provided us with a precious view of the grand sky above us and let us know how small we are in comparison. History greets us in every town through its’ churches and structures, and we look at them with such respect for still standing tall. It is an assault to our eyes because we want to take it all in but know we can only capture what we are able to see now. There is much for us to see and we are hungry for more each day.
Sense of Hearing- There are so many sounds that capture our attention. There is the sound of the birds or sometimes roosters in the morning saying “Good day!” Water rippling off rocks as it rushes down stream. Hiking poles hitting against the stones on the dirt trail or bikes whizzing by as riders desperately try to cover as much ground as possible. The rhythmic sound of feet striking the pavement or rocks making their own music. At times, peregrinos conversing about what they’ve experienced thus far on the Camino or their real lives back home. There is also a hum to those moments when it is just you and the path in front of you and there is no other sound but your thoughts. It’s a moment to treasure.
Sense of Smell– We have encountered many different aromas while on the Camino. The most pungent is of animal excrement used for fertilization. This has been very present while on the Meseta and at times has overpowered all other smells. On the other hand, we have also had great pleasure in smelling the dirt below our feet, the fresh grass, the pine trees in certain parts, and most of all, the delicious delights in Spanish cuisine. Whether it be fresh coffee brewing, a savory paella, or a scrumptious dessert, we have enjoyed every enticing culinary smell.
Sense of Taste- Tasting the various types of foods and wines found in Spain has been a culinary dream to date. We still have Galician cuisine to explore so we’re not done yet. To this point though, we have been rarely disappointed. Food is life in Spain, and we certainly have experienced that from day one. Another thing we’ve tasted in general has been Spanish life. It is about enjoying every minute, every encounter for however long you can.
Sense of Touch- After a long day of walking, the best feeling is the hot water hitting my body and washing away all the dirt I’ve collected from the trail. A nicely padded bed and fluffy pillow is also welcomed after my feet have covered thousands of rocks during the day. For as beautiful as this experience is, there is still real soreness and sometimes real pain.
In speaking with my daughter Dani this weekend, I was describing this awakening of the senses to her. When I finished, she said, “That is so spiritual Mom.” That sounds perfect to me.
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