As I alphabetized the books on hold, my ear was caught suddenly by a phrase..."She wants me to do the Norte, but I'm thinking about the Via de la Plata" Ah! I thought, no wonder she sounds so happy. She's just been on the Camino! Sure enough, when I turned (surreptitiously) I saw a stocky middleaged lady with a recent tan which spoke more of wind than sun; fleshy, freckled, strongly proportioned calves, and a t-shirt bearing a shell motif. She was a pilgrim, alright, and a newly minted one at that. I could practically see the nimbus round her head. Later that day, a couple of books came across my desk, destined for a woman at another branch; one a favourite Camino memoir, and the other, a complete set of maps of the Camino Frances. Another one, I thought. I smiled happily to myself at the idea of another adventure launched, another challenge accepted, another lifechanging experience in the making.
This past week I've been sharing my home and environs with two friends from Oz whom I met on my first Camino in 2008. We've been talking non-stop, not just about the Camino, but I can't deny that its still a major topic of conversation, as we pick up the threads of the past, and actually have time to talk about things we saw, people we met, and the fun we've had together. We've managed to enjoy ourselves in the present too!
I heard a miraculous story the other day from a woman whose life has been changed by the walk, and she hasn't even left home. Her family situation is a difficult one, and while her husband took some time to reflect by going on the pilgrimage, she prepared to leave him. Now that he's back, she's guardedly optimistic. "He's different", she says. Long may it continue, I say.