A Year Ago Today

by John E. Morelock

I must have looked at my watch a hundred times as Saturday afternoon slowly
passed into evening. We went running on the trails overlooking the Straits of Juan
de Fuca, perhaps its Spanish sounding name caused me to pause more times than
usual. Kathy asked a time or two if something was bothering me. I said no. We ran

Evening came and we watched another wonderful sunset. We are given good
sunsets up here in the Pacific Northwest (Washington state, USA). In Spain it had
been the sunrises that drove us out of the albergues into the predawn darkness. We
walked with furtive glances over our shoulders, not wanting to miss the first rays of
light, finally pausing to wait; to watch as someone set up the easel and painted our
morning’s dawn. That was long ago. An eternity ago it seems now.

There was a coincidence with darkness coming this Saturday evening. I had not
thought of it being so nearly perfectly timed. We are several time zones west of St.
Jean-Pied-de-Port in France, but only a few degrees north. Things have a way of
working out in the mind’s eye. I looked at my watch again, smiled, both sadly and
happily, and said, “A year ago at this time we were standing on that arched bridge
over the river Nive looking at the wisps of fog and wondering what we were doing.”
We had looked at the waters flowing slowly beneath us, hugged and walked out of
the still sleeping town and started up and into the Pyrenees.

Our pilgrimage had begun.

Darkness folded over my announcement and all its beckoned memories with as
much silence and deepness as that first sunrise above St. Jean had brought. We
had stood on that Pyrenees hillside just above town watching the sun give light to the
birth to our camino. Now I watched a sun setting and turning loose the flood of
memories we hide from so often.

We don’t know which memories we are to cherish, which ones we are to etch with
deeper lines so they will stay fresh when we call them time and time again. We
walked by each day’s offerings and never knew if we saw the ‘important’ things, the
‘right’ things, the things the pilgrimage was to show us. Now we pause during a run
or a walk and ask, “Do you remember…?”

Yes. Yes, I remember.

We went outside and looked up at the Milky Way, our night sky thread to a year ago
gone by, our eyes and hearts following it eastward to Spain.

¡¡Ultreia y Buen Camino Siempre!!