¡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!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Saint-Asnier, day 2

So my new pilgrim friend, Patricia, left this morning after a late rising and leisurely breakfast. I stayed put.
Last night, over our birthday pizza and pretty darn good house wine, she asked me if I was happy being a pilgrim. I hesitated in my answer. “Yes and no …I find some of it wearying: the rain, a different bed every night, the weight of the pack on my back some days, the same clothes day after day. But there are also moments of grace, inspiration, solitude filled with calm…I am happy to be here, though it’s not always fun.” Her answer to the same question was much simpler: she loves it all.
As she left this morning, almost gliding down the street, I thought that she is a natural pilgrim, while I’ve dropped into this world from another place and am just doing my best to get down the road day after day, trudging along with Gregory the Great weighing me down and my body always on the edge of another breakdown. But on I go, though not a natural born pilgrim, one by adoption - and that’s got to be good enough.

So today for me was a quiet day, mostly in my little room with the river flowing just beyond, listening to my book on the iPod, (Paul Elie’s intertwining of the lives of Dorothy Day, Walker Percy, Thomas Merton, and Flannery O’Connor), and writing in my journal, all the while tending my sore foot, (which is doing much better after its day off too). It rained a fair amount today so I was just as happy to be holed-up here as out on the road, (see, I’m NOT a natural pilgrim).

Tomorrow will hold new things to see, new thoughts to ponder, new inspirations, and, maybe, another pilgrim to befriend, then let go of….