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Friday, 5 August 2016

Saints and Cynics Day 10: Puente de la Reina to Estella

Puente de la Reina to Estella 22km (223 km cumulative)

It's Sunday 24th July, it's day 10, and I'm walking to Estella from Puente la Reina, started off about 08:30 this morning. I'm about an hour away, I suppose [no you weren't, it was more like two]. I can see the cathedral, behind it I can see a mountain rising up to the left and then a very small, conical hill, straight ahead of me which is, I think Villamayor de Montjardin. Over to the right, to the north-west are the Basque mountains and in a sense this Camino is a Camino with mountains always on the horizon, untouchable. In the Pyrenees, now in the hills of Navarra and of course, most tantalisingly, across the Meseta when you ca see the Cordillera Cantabrica to the north; that's a real bummer. 
The weather is very pleasant, sunny; very small cumulus clouds, ooccasional shade. There's a nice wind, it's a lot less hot than it was a week ago when I limped, dehydrated, into St Palais. And I've become a laggard, as such it's relatively quiet from Lorca into Estella.

I'm just so relaxed; so laid back. This is fantastic walking; again, I'm almost at the point of tears. It's as if I haven't fell like this for a long, long time; indeed, I probably haven't felt like this for a long, long time. I probably haven't felt like this since the summer of 2012 [when I walked the Camino Frances for the first time] or maybe 2014 on the Camino de San Salvador. The emotions are stronger, the intensity of tranquility, if that's not an oxymoron. 
To what extent is the landscape involved? This landscape - I don't remember it from last time; it all seems new, even though it's only four and but years since I was last here. I don't remember the hills, I don't remember the Basque mountains being on the fringes of the landscape though that's probably because I'm now more obsessed with the Basque mountains and because I've visited them.
I'm much more aware of the context of the Camino within the whole Spanish/Basque landscape; the Basqueland, the Basquescape.

Cirauqui - classic hill-top town

It feels emotional, it feels ... comfortable ... no, not comfortable, it feels like a landscape which I feel very part of. I feel more at home, more attuned to this landscape than I would, now, to landscape in the UK, even in my beloved Wessex. And part of this Camino is about being on the run, the sense of being a refugee ... I'm always on the move and when I wasn't on the move in Pamplona on Friday I was a grumpy git. 
I just wanted to record this to show how the landscape is having this affect ... it's difficult to describe how I feel. It's almost ecstatic but in an way that isn't ecstatic - can one be calmly ecstatic? it feels perfect - just rolling along, dwelling in this landscape.

The path is always the centre of attention, the focus of the visual and embodied gaze

I was thinking about yesterday's hike down from the Alto del Perdon to Puente de Reina, how you begin to get this procession of villages and from there the path. Not just this path but lots of paths; it's a landscape full of ways, a landscape full of routes, full of possibilities. One dwells in it, one walks through it, one follows a very clear path defined by its yellow arrows but that's not all one sees.

I wanted to think about becoming. This is Day 10, it's the ninth day of walking. One is constantly becoming, one never does become, one never gets to the 'ser' [essence], one is always 'estar' [transitional state]. But what I feel today is that I'm becoming part of the landscape, that a particular spell cast by the landscape is beginning to work, possibly helped by the weather, and it's becoming very strong.

The distant Sierra de Loquiz from the Camino near Estella

I do intensely feel part of this landscape and if somebody were to come along and try pluck me away from this I would get physically violent. The only way I would leave this Camino now would be in a coffin, even if I were to sustain an injury I'd still hang around. This is where I belong, there's nowhere else I need to be. it's a bit like the day of my operation [twenty years ago]; I remember thinking then, looking out of the window of my hospital room, there's nowhere else I want to be. All sorts of things could have going on elsewhere, I wanted to be there. it's the same feeling, which is a little bit weird, I suppose, but maybe that's significant.

1 comment:

  1. So... be there, in anger and awe, dwelling and becoming, representing and nonrepresentational, one with landscape. not knowing is ok, cafe con leche under a red parasol too...