Day 20. Leon to Villar de Mazarife 21.8km.
Graffitied on the walls of the albergue is wisdom left from pilgrims who sheltered here for a night. Some are mantras egging them to walk further. Others are quotes selected from wisdom figures of literature, scripture, and civil rights leaders. Still more are simple funny drawings and jokes containing a humor that lightens our steps and distracts from the pain. In languages and cultures from all over the world, some messages appear cryptic to certain readers, yet the truth of their shared tradition remains alive.
Having walked this far, now over half of the Camino, my eyes are becoming more set towards Santiago. Yet after having walked this far it is not the journey to Santiago, that has been the longest, it is the journey traveled from my head to my heart. In a distance no greater than two feet, lies a wisdom that contains the entire sacredness of the world. Yet, even after traveling over 300 kilometers I feel as if I’ve only made an inch of progress.
In scripture, we are told that God speaks to us in gentle whispers. In tradition, we know that human beings reveal the language for God’s words. On the Camino, a great deal of time is spent in the sacred silence of nature and the rest of the time is spent interpreting the language and actions of the people around you. We all make our own Camino and each aspect means something different for each pilgrim.
Like the markings on these walls, only some will have meaning while others will be over looked. For me, the one thing that is clear is “The greatest distance we’re traveling is not the road to Santiago, but the journey from our head to our heart.”