Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Marking the Way
As Lisa noted, there are two paths through Pamplona, one for the bulls, one for the pilgrims. I wanted to check both of them out. I wanted to see the first path, just to see where all the carnage happens. I wanted to see the second, because I wanted to get my eyes used to looking for signs that marked the way. We would do well to get used to the markers, before we put on our packs.
And there they were: yellow arrows marking the way ahead. Sometimes there would be an arrow along with a scallop shell, but always there would be an arrow. And when I started looking, I noticed them everywhere. Just when you were beginning to wonder, there would be a yellow arrow on a pole, a tree, a stone, a marker set into the path. There were yellow arrows on the sides of houses, signs pointing to somewhere else, even in the middle of the road.
Just when I needed one, just when I began to wonder whether we´d wandered off the path, there would be an arrow. It was as if someone had been there before. Not just anyone, either. Someone with my own special set of anxieties. It gave me great heart.
The arrows I loved the best were the ones that were just there, in the middle of a long stretch where there had been no turn-offs. There had been no choices to make, no forks in the road, nothing. The yellow arrow was just there, a sign of encouragement.
And that´s the Camino: you see these, and you try to become a sign of encouragement to someone else.