The Last Hill

Looking back on this photo, I feel great nostalgia and pain. This is my wife walking down the last hill of El Camino de Compostela a few kilometers before Santiago. She had to tape her feet every morning because of the many blisters. The fatigue is palpable because we have both walked more kilometers than we ever had in our lives.

There is a saying that goes something like, if you want to make God laugh then tell him your plans. This was one of my plans. I was going to early retire in April. I thought that by then I would be finished with my last software tool, which picks hackers out of a stream of requests. I like fighting the bad guys. We would then move to Spain and finish searching for a little place by the sea.

The plan did not go as expected as I had a brain hemorrhage about a year before I planned to retire However, the end result may be nearly the same as what I planned. In addition, I was able to walk El Camino and feel what real physical and spiritual power is. I had been wanting to walk El Camino for quite some time. I may have put it off or never have gotten to it if I had been left to my own plan. Instead I was given the reason for walking.

Since that time I have thought a little more about what were the reasons behind what happened. Sometimes events may really have nothing to do with ourselves. In this case, I think walking El Camino may have really taken place for my wife. In years past when we had talked about walking, my wife had emphatically stated she would not walk El Camino because the distances were too long and walking would be painful because of her two back surgeries. Two months after my surgery I had decided to walk El Camino and began taking very early morning walks to prepare. We talked about various ways she could either be in Spain waiting for me, walk part of the day with me, take a taxi from town to town to meet me at the end of the day or another way. I was wobbly and falling for no reason at that time. It was a stressful for both of us. However, I had the feeling that walking would solve everything. It was also a way for me to give thanks to God for my second chance. I could not think of another way. Rather than try and convince me not to walk, she decided she would walk with me in the early mornings so I didn’t get hurt.

I don’t think that my wife would have requested that we walk El Camino together, just for herself. It was probably the furthest thing from her mind. I have noticed that women will do things for others that they would not do for themselves. Women are a lot tougher than men. The main reason she walked with me was to take care of me and make sure I was safe. I know now that walking El Camino in the state I was in was more than a little crazy. For me it was a necessity but probably not advisable at the time. In the end because of her selfless motives, she probably benefitted more from El Camino than I did. And I couldn’t have recuperated as quickly without El Camino. It has effected us both deeply in many ways.

It took a few more years than I planned but we did find a little place by the sea in Spain.

Published by Rod

I love walking and riding in the hills.

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