I spent last night half way up the mountain in a cold and lonely albergue where none of the few other pilgrims there spoke either Spanish or English. I left early for what was surely to be a big and challenging and quite long day.
Venus, my morning friend.
The city of Astorga behind me down below.
Here comes that heat and light…
Ahh… a new day… It’s all good.
We approach the famous Cruz de Fierro. Every pilgrim brings a stone from their homeland to place here. I have brought two: one hard stone from Leleahina, a temple to Hina (goddess of the moon) in the mountains near my ‘ohana’s home and one coral piece from an alter to Hina (goddess of tides) at Mokapu on the ocean at the far side of the ahupua’a that is my ‘ohana’s kuleana to love, know, protect and care for.
As I arrive at sunrise some pilgrims are already placing their long-carried offerings.
I have installed the stone and coral with my intention-hope-wish-desire-willingness-and-prayer: That humanity awaken to a new understanding of nature and itself, such that we will want to change the rules to place a high priority on caring for the well-being of the planet and all people. Such that we cut carbon emissions by half in a hurry. And I pray that humanity follows indigenous wisdom and leadership. And that Hina helps out too.
My stones: infused with prayer and carried on a plane for thousands of miles and carried on my back for hundreds.
I walk up and…
Place them with
The countless other offerings mounded up and brought over the centuries.
And when I come down from the cross to gather my bag and keep moving on, Peter from Alberta, with whom I have been meeting again and again off and on all along the Way from Day One, is there. And we hugged from the emotion of the shared moment of reaching this big milestone.
And I say something like, “…isn’t it great how each one makes their offering” and he responds with a different down-to-earth take that feels like wisdom and a gift to me in perfect time: ” a stone represents a burden and this is the release of that, and Christ said ‘come unto me and I will make your burden light…’ or something close to that.
“I like light and easy,” Peter said, and I said, “I like light and easy too.”
And I get it. I do feel light. I don’t have to carry that prayer like a heavy thing. And even my pack feels light. My heart for sure…
And down the other side.
It’s a veeerrry steep and rocky downhill walk today!
Ever westward. Into a future where one, if they look for it, can find the light, and feel it.
PS: when I first saw one of these on the trail I thought a fake silk flower had fallen off of someone’s well-adorned straw hat.
But nope. There’re real. Strewn all along the Way.