Profundio del Dia

After crossing the Pyrenees, we deliberately took it slow for the first five days of our walk. Training on the trail, we began to settle into a natural rhythm – wake, pack, walk, breakfast, walk, coffee, walk, lunch, walk, find a bed, wash clothes, nap, dinner, sleep.

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Sometimes, we walked in silence, immersed in our own thinking. Sometimes we’d talk. Early on we’d realized that there were a lot of people walking El Camino sorting out serious life issues, seeking answers. We were out there as part of our transition to ‘retired’, but not dealing with anything particularly heavy. Still expecting some insights, self-discovery, we’d joked about stumbling upon our “Profundio del Dia” – “Depth of the Day” as we went about our walk.

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We met Barb on our first day. She was walking El Camino to shake off some demons, and reboot her life. She holds multiple world records for power lifting – and is quite strong* –  but still struggled with the endurance required for walking uphill.  Since we were going slow, we invited her to hang with us for a few days until she got her trail legs. We’d start off together with a rough idea of where we’d end up for the day, and then meet up along the trail – walking together, yet apart.

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Third day in, our morning coffee stop was at an outdoor cafe. Just as we sat down, a large group of boisterous Spaniards descended upon the courtyard. Whooping and hollering, the men swamped the cafe proprietor, and filled the tables. We finished up, deciding to get on our way to get ahead of their large, loud pack.

We failed.

They were everywhere – yapping on cellphones, singing, talking at extreme volume! They’d fragmented into smaller groups, and we couldn’t get ahead of them all! Destroying any chance of a peaceful, meditative walk, we finally just gave up – stopping in a field, we waited to get the racket ahead of us.

Rolling into our destination village for the day, we spotted another outdoor cafe on the edge of town. And there they were! Over two dozen loud men – singing, hollering, and infesting the entire outdoor area like giant locusts in futbol gear!

daisyfae: If those noisy bastards are staying here tonight? i’ll keep walking! i don’t care how far it is to the next village, i’m not bunking with them tonight!

We decided to at least stop for lunch. Walking into the cafe, we found Barb, already having coffee and a snack.

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Barb: Do you see this group of men?

daisyfae: Oh, hell yeah! We see ’em.

Barb: They saved my life today! i was struggling to get up that last hill, crying. They surrounded me. That one? With the bright yellow shirt? He took my pack and carried it for me. And that one? The older man? He walked beside me, helping me keep my head up to make it easier to breathe. They don’t speak any English, but it didn’t matter! They are amazing.

daisyfae: ….

On this day, Profundio del Dia slapped us both upside the head: One man’s asshole is another man’s savior.

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* Training to lift heavy things does not include any cardio training. In fact, she told us that cardio reduces strength, and when training she would avoid it like the plague! 

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24 thoughts on “Profundio del Dia

    • There were a few more along the way. i am still rather kinetic, and finding time to hoark up these moments has proven to be a challenge. But i’m not giving up! Thanks for hanging in there with me!

    • i don’t know if i fully conveyed how rotten i felt for all of the nasty things i said to Studley about those men. The bigger lesson was that we were all walking our own caminos – the dance is when your camino interferes with my camino. Learning to let go of such annoyances, learning to adjust our own journey to maintain the walk we wanted to walk… Still working on that after being home for three months!

    • It is pretty damn depressing out there, isn’t it? i joined Twitter just to yell at a particularly deaf senator – who remains unable to respond to any constituents that disagree with him. Shitweasels everywhere.

      Trying to focus more on the good things around me. And doing those things, however small, that can somehow make something better…

  1. A fantastic post. Where the heck are you?

    I received this two days ago from a friend:

    That reminds me a story my friend Paula once told me. She was standing in line at the supermarket and feeling irritated, which was usual for her. She fixated on the woman in front of her in line who was heavy, and was thinking to herself “fat pig“ when the woman turned, looked at Paula and said “oh my God, you have such beautiful eyes!“ Paula was stricken with guilt and thought to herself,— my eyes may be beautiful but my heart is a black lump of coal.

    • i am a moving target. we got back from Spain at the beginning of June, and i was on the road through mid-July (CAMPING! More on that when i have some time!) We decided to stay in town through the end of August, but i’ve been stoopid busy, taking on too many community projects, on top of dealing with slow drains and life maintenance. Also doing a shitton of costuming for two events late summer/early fall… one, with our friend from Barcelona! My house looks like a gigantic pinterest failure.

      Paula is all of us. i work on being kind… well, kinder is the best i’ll likely achieve. i will continue to work on this. there are a few more ‘profundios del dia’ from the camino along these lines… it will maintain some level of judgmental asshole until the day i die, it seems.

    • My husband passed away in June from cancer and I took care of him at home in the months leading up to that. In the past, I would see people at the supermarket who looked grumpy and grouchy and I’d be all judgemental about it. You know, perk up and smile. Now, I realize that you can never really appreciate what someone is experiencing in their life just by looking at them.

      • I’m so sorry to hear that your husband passed away. Although i was not full time caregiver for my mom, i had enough time with them to appreciate just how stressful the job could be – and i’m sure you earned any grumpy/grouchy moments. i hope that you are finding comfort in the good memories… ❤

  2. so interesting – reinforces the problem with judging a book by its cover or just judging too quickly. We all do it. Of course, I do think mobs act very differently than individuals.

    • They were still loud, disruptive, and oblivious to the experience of others around them – but we had the opportunity to adjust our schedule to avoid the noise they were making. This was an important lesson of El Camino for us – understanding that THEIR experience on El Camino might include boisterous, enthusiastic socializing, and ours focused more on walking in peace. Making adjustments to manage that intersection — without the need for judgment — was the answer.

  3. Dammit babies you’ve gotta be kind… a wise man once uttered those words and i keep them close at hand these days. Great update Ms. Daisy, i’m trying like hell to teach the boyos those words, i say, “you’ll meet people you think are wonderful who turn out to be complete shitbags and vice-versa, love them all the same.” Then again i do smoke/eat a large amount of ganja…

    • Uncle Kurt… i really wonder what wonderful words he would have to describe our current political abyss. he was pretty despondent at the end regarding exponentially accelerating climate change. We could use a decent muse these days.

      Being kind. i can usually manage to be at least civil, if not outwardly kind when i’m dealing with a difficult person. It’s the ‘inside my head’ part that may never come together. i have a hard time not being a judgmental turd. i will have to smoke and more ganja, methinks… retirement (and never having to piss in a jar again) has benefits.

  4. There a kind of kind theme here. Kinder, as you say, is all I’m aiming for. I’ve learnt that regrets and apologies don’t cut any ice with anyone. It’s the harder thing — behaviour, that one has to change.

    Spaniard are such fucking noisy bastards though! 🙂 Maybe you could invent your own camino pacifico, and advertise it for quiet people.

    • “Kind” is indeed the goal, but “kinder” is realistically what i will achieve… on a mission to clean up any lingering regrets, and leave things at least a little better than i find them before i punch out. It feels weird to be well past the halfway point of my life (unless i live into my 100’s, which is doubtful!).

      There are many camino routes – one that follows the Portuguese coast is the only one i’m interested in. There’s a “Primitivo” that is less populated, but may require sleeping outside, and i’m not sure i’m ready for that. The one through the center of Spain is the toughest, and also less traveled… but i know i’m not good for that! 1,000 miles or so! There are other paths to walk! May head for central England (Hadrian’s Wall) or Scotland next…

      • Of course, if you do end up in my country, you’re *obliged* to let me join you for a half day of it. I’m really not into walking, but there are exceptions for certain people… x

  5. Great post! I love the sting in the tail! Profundia del dia indeed!

    If you do ever get over to England… the north (near me, and until recently Looby) has some great territory to lose yourself/ find yourself in. The peat tableau of Kinder Scout just south of Manchester for instance can give the Pyrenees a run for their money in terms of energy-sapping potential, you know you’ve earned a couple of pints of whatever takes your fancy after a day in that lunar landscape amid the clouds.

    • Thanks for stopping by! We haven’t firmed up plans yet, but within a couple of years, it’s likely we’ll head somewhere in the UK for a walkabout! Between us, we’ve got four kids, scattered around the globe. Just visiting them keeps us on the move!

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