October 21, 2018

Reenacting a Camino legend...almost 

In the Middle Ages, the legend goes that a pilgrim on the way to Santiago was about to die of thirst near Zariquiegui. The devil then appeared and offered to give him water in exchange for his soul.

He refused and at the last moment Santiago—Saint James—appeared and quenched his thirst from a scallop shell.

(As an observant Jew, the real James probably never had much to do with scallops or other shellfish, but let’s not be too literal here.)

I nearly re-enacted that scene at the same place on day 3 of my pilgrimage, minus the supernatural parts.

I was trying to make up time for what I thought was a slow start. It was a long hot slog through Pamplona but I wanted to go farther.

I thought I had enough water, but the path was long, hot and dry. Every time I thought I was getting closer to the village, it seemed to recede like the horizon.

It was dry and I had a sleeping bag and trail mix, but without water none of that mattered.
By the time I “came in through the wilderness, a creature void of form” (Dylan), I was pretty close to being in serious trouble.

Sad to say I made the same mistake three days later from just being lazy about taking off my backpack/torture devise to refill one hot afternoon. Shame on me.

Since then I’ve learned my lesson. Each day, water is the top priority in the morning.

I don’t want to reach the point of the pilgrim in the legend. I’m not sure I trust Santiago that much. Or myself.

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