Remembrance of Times Past - June 21, 2007
: In writing these daily notes since May 19 I have focused on feelings and memories of the Camino, rather than on practicalities. There are plenty of other generous contributors on Ivar's website who do that so much better than me.
My words and images by themselves are of little value. They are only imperfect tools that may help other pilgrims tap into their own memories, their own special feelings. That has been my chief wish: to evoke a personal response in the reader, to stimulate reflection - and to convey my love of nature in the hope that others will look more closely at the natural wonders that are all about them.
If I have succeeded in this, then I am well content.
Readers who have yet to do their own pilgrimage may find my writing unhelpful. That is perfectly
understandable. When I was preparing last year, all I wanted was facts, facts, and more facts. Many contributors helped me greatly and I was not always able to acknowledge it online. I promised myself that I would do something in return. My postings over recent weeks are a partial repayment of the debt I owe to others and a duty I feel to the camino itself.
I also ask intending pilgrims to give some thought to the non-practical aspects of the camino, not only to the contents of their packs. If I have encouraged even one new pilgrim to take up the scallop shell and walk humbly in the Way of St James, my camino will have had an even greater value for me.
It is not the distance we walk that is important, it is how we walk, and why.
Today's picture is a collage of impressions from ordinary, typical photos anyone can take at Finisterre. There I am, woven into the fabric of Finisterre, hopefully not too prominent, wearing my faithful yellow arrow pointing to the faint road leading to the lighthouse and the waves breaking on the rocks below.
I was going to write some more about Santiago and Finisterre, but the aliens are back and they are waiting impatiently for me to board the spaceship, to take me once again to the world I left on May 19. But I will escape again one day, and walk another pilgrimage, another journey into myself. One day. One day.
Here is a quote from "A Journey to Portugal" by Jose Saramago, another of the great writers I have quoted from time to time, that beautifully sums up how I feel. The book was drawn to my attention privately by someone who contributes much to this forum:
"The end of one journey is simply the start of another. You have to see what you missed the first time, see again what you already saw, see in springtime what you saw in summer, in daylight what you saw at night, see the sun shining where you saw the rain falling, see crops growing, the fruit ripen, the stone which has moved, the shadow that was not there before. You have to go back to the footsteps already taken, to go over them again or add fresh ones alongside them. You have to start the journey anew. Always".
There is more about Finisterre at: http://bob-m-blog.blogspot.com/
for anyone interested. I have also added a few notes on another, very different, pilgrimage.
For anyone interested in technical aspects of my photos, all were taken with a simple Canon compact and processed in Photoshop, except for a few of the collages (like today's), which were made with Picasa.
Picasa is free to download from Google and is a useful photo tool. You can make collages very quickly by pressing one button. If the first results are no good, just junk that attempt and try again. Pick say three of your own photos and try it. You will be surprised at how easy it is to create striking images.
Thanks again to everyone who walked with me over the last few weeks.