Camino – Day 33 – October 18
The rain stops and the sun breaks through the clouds as I enter Finisterre. A thousand years ago, this place was considered the End of the Earth. People still call it that today. And as I walk toward the lighthouse at the cape, I can imagine there is nothing out there beyond the sea. Only water. And mystery.
Waves crash against rock and the air tastes salty as I separate myself from the tourists and find a quiet place along the cliff. I hear a man with a backpack yell out to the sea while he raises his arms in triumph. He has just completed his Camino. I choke up and then wipe my eyes dry as a couple of tourists close in to take selfies.
There is no further west I can walk. The door is closed. And while the Camino had hard lessons for me, I don’t feel that I have the answers that I came here seeking. I am considering returning to St. Jean Pied-de-Port in France and then walking across Spain again. Or perhaps heading to Lisbon to walk the Portuguese Way. Or maybe walking the shorter English Way. I have the time. I feel like I’ve missed something here. Perhaps if I walk just a little further, maybe up the coast to Muxia, I’ll receive a sign. Others have asked for signs. One woman, trying to decide if she should continue to date a man, asked to see a blue butterfly, which she had not yet seen on the Camino. In answer, she saw a multitude of blue butterflies that day.
I begin to have an inkling of an idea. It’s a ridiculous idea and I laugh at the thought of it. It’s the kind of idea that might cause others to question my sanity. But the more I run it through my head, the more it starts to make sense to me. I shake my head no. The idea is too crazy. Much, much too crazy. And yet, the idea persists. It gains its own power and I can’t let it go.
St James was a straight shooter. He spoke his mind, which sometimes got him in trouble. He didn’t speak in parables like Jesus; he shot straight from the hip. I had been wondering how I might just ask him questions directly. I had just walked across Spain and didn’t know what to do next. Should I stay on the Camino? Should I go? I was hoping to figure out what to do next in my life, but was no further ahead in my thinking than when I started this Camino.
I decide to implement my idea. I can’t help myself. I pull a Toonie out of my pocket. It had travelled with me from Canada and had been with me every step of the Way. I hold it up and say, “St James, this is your voice. Heads for ‘no’ and tails, or bears, for ‘yes’.”
I ask questions, some of which are for me alone. The two relevant ones I share here are: Do I need to return to St Jean now and redo this Camino alone? I flip the coin and let it land in the dirt. (No). Is there any further walking I need to do on the Camino at this time? I flip the coin again. (No).
And so this journey ends for me, my friends. I look out to the sea and celebrate this walk with Swiss chocolate. I savour the taste, let it melt in my mouth.
Finally, I throw my pack over my shoulder and turn back inland. Another door opens.