Yesterday and today were days four and five on our walk. There’s a lot of things you learn along the way. One is how sore you can be after 23 Km. We have all got sore legs, feet and possibly a myriad of other things. For the majority of us it takes all afternoon to reach the end goal of the day, but for a grandfather and grandson, Andre and Elijah it doesn’t take them long. They speed walk and are completed two hours minimum before everyone else, with seemingly no aches, pains or other ailments. They are an inspiration with their stamina and positive outlook on it all. Yet this isn’t about how fast you can complete a day’s journey, nor probably about ones consistently positive outlook. It is about the journey itself with all the aches, pains, joys, sorrows and what one learns while traipsing this dusty path. Today’s post won’t be with a huge choice of pictures, those will come tomorrow with a very brief blog. For today’s post I want to share the significance of the yellow arrow which points us on the correct path of the Camino.
The yellow arrow can very much typify our lives. Consider for a moment, have you ever felt lost in life, and didn’t know which way to go? What about ever having to make a decision and you didn’t know which path to choose or decision to make? Wouldn’t it be nice if at these moments in life, the right way, the right path, the right choice, and the right direction were just obvious? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some sort of clear sign or symbol pointing us to the right way, to the right path, or to the right choice? And what if that clear sign or symbol was as simple as just a basic little yellow arrow? Well, the Camino de Santiago is clearly marked with hundreds of basic little yellow arrows painted on sign posts and railings, on the sides of homes and other buildings, sidewalks and paved roads, on rocks, stones and tree trunks, on electrical poles and lamp posts, the back of street signs, and on brick and stone walls. The yellow arrow, along with several other types of signs and symbols (the shell or a man with a walking stick), it all points us to take the right way, the right path, the right choice, and the right direction along the Camino. Sometimes the arrow points us straight ahead, other times it leads to the left or to the right, or through a tunnel, or over a bridge, or along a trail, around a corner, up some stairs, through an intersection, down a dirt or gravel path or on a paved road, and through small villages and larger towns. Ultimately leading to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
With each step and turn on the camino path, there are decisions to make. I came with a heavy suitcase of stuff, much of what I necessarily did not need. Many are the hearts of those along the camino with a heavy load of baggage. Will I carry the same baggage the entire way? Will they, or I, release what burdens, letting it go so that when we reach the end we will find peace or whatever else we may be seeking? That’s the pain associated with the journey. Not solely the blisters, or sore legs and knees, but the hindrances of the heart which prevent us from living fully. May we all learn and respond to this pilgrimage. May we come away forever changed.