Day 7. Los Arcos to Logroña. 27.8km. With elevation factor, 29.3km.
Graffitied under an over pass: Inner peace comes after the war within.
Today was the first day that I’ve walked alone.
Arriving in Los Arcos yesterday my legs were tired and my feet were aching. I had arrived a few minutes late to town, as I had been wrapped up in a conversation with a Mennonite pastor whose pace, like his demonor, was slow and steady. My group had stoped for lunch, when it was shared that several people wanted to walk an extra 6-8km to the next town. Thinking I could muster the strength, I soon followed them out of town, stoping only briefly to speak with two fellow pilgrims. With my pace slowed, the group advanced down the road, knowing I would not be able to match their pace, I retired to the nearest albergue to rest for the remainder of the day. While separated from my normal squad, I was welcomed by familiar faces of fellow travelers. There I spent my evening icing my legs and enjoying a meal prepared my my friend and English chef.
Rested and well-medicated, I began my journey around 6:30am. I walked, quicker than anticipated given my previous day’s condition, and made my way west towards Logroña.
In the silence of my own steps, I was confronted by the commotion of my mind. Thoughts of the past I had worked diligently to drown in the depths of my conscience floated to the shore where I was pressed by the reality of their inquisition. Thoughts that I presumed dead awakened and sought to devour my attention. Alleyways, roadways, and pathways that I assumed were long darkened and abandoned illuminated in the reality of the moment forcing me to follow-up their inquiry.
Hoping to retreat from this cacophony of questions, I dug into my backpack to hide behing the isolation of earbuds in the comforting ignorance of music. Songs playing, Podcasts talking, the world and reality were closed off. Only minutes into my isolation, I was inundated by the unrecognible noise. The jargon of their tones invaded my ears and I was plunged into a depth of discomfort and uneasy rest. The world outside tugged quickly and I removed the earbuds, the death nails of the present moment, and returned them to the depth of my rucksack.
Standing alone and isolated, without a soul in sight, the war within began to rage. Burned bridges, mistaken chances, embarrassing moments, and broken promises all took hold of my mind as I toed my way down the path. Nothing could be done to silence their questions and I was forced to answer.
Behind the songs of the birds dancing through the trees and the sound of the wind whistling past my ears, my mind fell silent to the noise of now. No longer did I toil with the invading questions of my own reality, for the war within had been fought and an inner peace had been found.