Friday, 25 October 2013

The 65th-and last day

For more than 2 months I have woken up to the routine of getting ready for a days walking . In some ways today was no different but I also knew that this was the last day . I have thought of walking back to Santiago but there comes a point where you say that enough is Enough! I was ready for off by 8,and a waning moon and stars announced a fine day . I had checked out the route from Fisterra yesterday and,apart from two aggressive dogs,had no difficulties. I was rewarded with lovely views back over the town and Mount Facho. Incongruously one of the villages was called San Salvador! After about an hour and a half there were breathtaking views of Praia de Rostro which is a gloriously unspoilt beach.. At Lires I stopped for a break.
After the break something extraordinary happened which has only happened twice on the Camino . I felt the physical presence of my father walking with me . Now my father died in 1989 but this seemed like a tangible affirmation of all that I have gone through these last two and a half months . I felt my father approving of something that he would have loved to do if he had had the opportunity.
This gave rise to a profound meditation . I reflected on the words that Eliot uses in Little Gidding which he almost certainly took from Abbot Justin McCann's translation of the Cloud: "With the drawing of this love and the voice of this calling"
I was drawn to the homily I preached at my dad's funeral drawing on Eliot himself:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive at where we started and know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown,remembered gate
When the last of the earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
at the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple tree
Not known,because not looked for
But heard,half-heard, in the stillness.
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now,here now,always
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.'

I also reflected on the fact that one of my most treasured possessions is a copy of The Cloud inscribed by McCann which he gave to my dad in the 1950s.Like Wednesday it was a moment of deep gratitude.
There were two other moments today . The first involved my final companion of the whole Camino. I had leapfrogged a Spanish man for most of the day.Towards Muxia we started walking together (in the wrong way it turned out!) After consulting a local lady we rejoined the correct path . When we arrived at Muxia my companion indicated that he was off to the Albergue . I am afraid that I have had my fill of Alberques . As I was talking my leave he asked whether he could take a photo . I asked him his name and he said Jesus I know that it is a common Spanish name but it struck me as much more significant than that.
The final surprise of the day was when I arrived at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Boat . It is the furthest extremity of Muxia.Beyond it there are only rocks and the open Atlantic . I experienced a profound sense of peace . This is where my pilgrimage is meant to end.


  1. Tu as fini...Tu as vu "San Salvador (!), tu as senti la présence de ton père, la boucle est bouclée....
    Isabelle et Pierre

  2. This blog has been a joy to read and has enabled us all to share in your experience. I have imagined the terrain, felt the sun and the wind and the rain, laughed at the idiosyncrasies of the lodgings and their owners, been exhausted and exhilarated in equal measure, enjoyed your companions, but most of all I have journeyed with you spiritually and felt no surprise at your experience of the presence of your dad. When we spoke yesterday you gave me a single guess at who your final walking companion had been. I said God; you said Jesus. I still think it was God. You deserved the feeling of profound peace. You have, as Isabelle and Pierre say, completed the circle.