on the feast day of Saint James, on a day when the news out of Santiago de Compostela is distressing and devastating, I am looking back at all this past year has brought me. all the ways in which its challenged me and all the ways in which its invigorated me. if you asked me a year ago whether I’d ever consider doing a long-distance hike like the Camino again, I would have scoffed at you or shot you icy little daggers if you proposed spending several hundred more miles trudging along on my feet.
but time is great at softening the sharp edges of discomfort. my ankle can’t really have hurt all that much in the last few days of the hike. the blisters weren’t really that bad. my fatigue every day wasn’t nearly as terrible as I’d imagined. right?
our recent hike on the Dingle peninsula certainly put a few of those softened memories to the test, pushed physical boundaries in new directions and reminded — or at least strongly suggested — that the daily fatigue wasn’t far-fetched; a mid-afternoon nap and early dinner were about the right speed. but in more important, emotional and mental ways the demands of the hike were much easier to contend with this go round. if I did the Camino again now — or ten years from now — there are things I would do differently, but I would do it because there is nothing like walking into the Praza do Obradioro at the end of the road and knowing all that you achieved. I hope all those who lost their lives this week had an opportunity to know that kind of satisfaction, and that those in Santiago this week for the festivities are doing their best to honor the memories of those lost.