Day 3: The Walk Begins
By Susan Barnicoat and Missy Barras
It is said that the Camino calls the pilgrim. You may want to walk the Camino, but until the Camino calls you, it is not your time to walk.
Yesterday you heard some of the reasons for and how we will make our pilgrimage. Today you see our pilgrims on the Camino, each carrying their rock or token (see gallery below).
Unbeknownst to her, our dear Mary walks with her faith, her devotion, and her vocation showing to every pilgrim following her. The backs of her shoes have crosses that you see with every step she takes.
Pilgrims collect sellos, or stamps, in their Camino passport; the church (pictured below) is where many of us got one.
On the Camino there are markers called mojones, they indicate how many kilometers before a pilgrim reaches Santiago de Compostela. On the top of the mojón you will find rocks, often in stacks like cairns. Each rock or token represents a pilgrim’s prayer, hope, desire, life event, or something of significance. A pilgrim leaves it behind when they feel the Camino indicates it is time. Sometimes you find cairns along the way such as the ones pictured below in a niche.
More than just a walk, the Camino is a community. Today at lunch we were invited by two Belgian women to share their table. Like the women from SMAA, they belong to a faith group, roughly translated as Inspired Catholic Women. Their group, like ours, is made up of women in their 50s to 70s. While we are 19, they are 16 (12 pictured, below). We will share the Camino with these ladies for at least the next three days.
At the end of our 14 miles, as we came across the bridge and I saw the 50+ steps leading into Portomarín, I realized I could no longer carry the weight of my rock… so I left my rock representing my regrets and my grief on today’s final mojón. I walked up these stairs leaving them behind.