¡Buen Camino!

Dear Friends,
It has taken three tries and nine years, but as of July 2012, I have finally walked the entire Way of Compostela from my former home in Leuven/Louvain, Belgium, to Santiago de Composela!
My first pilgrimage experience from the French frontier with Spain to Santiago itself took place in 2003. You can read the details of this first walk along the famous Camino across Spain in my book, To The Field of Stars: A Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago de Compostela, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (2008). (You can order it from the publisher, from Amazon.com, or from your local bookseller).
In the summer and early fall of 2007, I walked from Belgium most of the way across France, with the hope of at least making it to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port near the Spanish border, where I began the first pilgrimage. I didn't quite make it. A bad case of plantar fasciitis took me down in the Bordeaux village of Sainte-Ferme. I continued on to Santiago by train and bus, but the "defeat of my feet" and those last 175 miles or so that were left undone, gnawed at me over the ensuing five years. Happily, I was finally able to wrap up this grand pilgrimage with a third walk from Sainte-Ferme to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port this past summer (2012). It was a joy to have completed all 2,370 kilometers between Leuven and Santiago.
My adventures and misadventures, my thoughts and prayers of both the 2007 and 2012 pilgrimages have been shared in this blog. I will leave the blog and its archives open for some time to come; if you want to read bits and pieces of it, feel free, but remember that the beginning is at the bottom and the end is at the top.
My contact e-mail remains the same: kacodd@gmail.com; I am always happy to receive mail!
As the pilgrims in Spain greet one another, so I greet you, my reader: "Buen Camino!"
And as the people of France greet their pilgrims along the "Chemin", I also wish to you: "Courage!"

Grace and peace to you all!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Le Veurdre, day 2, morning

After a simple dinner last night with my hosts, Monseur & Madame Foucaud, I returned to my own little pilgrim house and after doing some writing in my journal, I stepped out into the back garden to take a look at the night sky. At first I could see almost nothing above me; my eyes were still tuned to the bright lights of the indoors. Then, after a moment, it all became wonderfully clear: Oh my! The stars! They filled the dark sky in sweeps of luminescence! Above me almost directly was the Milky Way; Via Lactea, the outer edge of our galaxy; or best, as the French themselves sometimes call it, Le Chemin de Saint Jacques. It wraps itself around our little earth, girding it with light for the night. What a joy to behold it, or rather, feel it so near! I feel it is somehow mine out here...my via, my chemin, my Way of Stars. Not mine in a selfish way, as if I could possess such a thing, but mine in the sense of it dedicating itself to me and the other pilgrims walking to Compostela or Rome or Jerusalm. This Via, this Way is at our service; it is taking us along as much as we are walking along its path. Though it belongs to all, it is ours.