I wrote this on April 28, but could only post it today...
Poco a poco is practically a town motto in Salamanca, where it refers to advance in language studies. The many students in Salamanca to study Spanish assured that it will come poco a poco. It is an admonition to patience. In the last 4 months I have heard it from my teachers at the language school, from friars San Esteban, from the server at my favorite cafe/bar, and even from the young clerk at a store. That was the day I decided it was the town motto (and should be on the official town seal.
For the last week, it has become my metaphor for the Camino. As I have slowly carved away pieces of the 1000 km journey, I have done so poco a poco. At some point, it occurred to me that these distances that I was struggling to cover in a day on for Camino could be done in less than half an hour by car. I knew that thought came from the evil one because it was somewhat discouraging.
Today I only walked a little more than 6 miles. That was the plan from the beginning. Only 6 miles. Straight up 2100 feet. Today is the day that I did the lion's share of the work to get over the Pyranees to cross our of France and back into Spain. And, given the foot problems I have had, I decided to stay at the refugio on top of the mountain at Orisson. It is a beautiful spot (you will see from the pictures) and I got to meet many people who are staying here or who stopoed for a beer or coffee or lunch on their way over the hill. Tomorrow I will cross into Spain and stay at Roncesvalles (made famous by the Song of Roland). And at the end of the day tomorrow, I will be 10 miles closer to Santiago. Poco a Poco.
The Pilgrim Priest
Fr. Bart Hutcherson, OP is a priest of the Dominican Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in the Western USA. From April 20 - June 1, 2015 he walked from Lourdes, France to Santiago de Compostella, Spain. This page contains observations, images and reflections from the Way of St. James.
Fr. Bartholomew Hutcherson, OP, "The Pilgrim Preacher" is an Itinerant Preacher and member of the Western Dominican Province Preaching Team. He is available for retreats, conferences, and Parish Missions. He offers pilgrimages periodically and shares images and reflections on this website as "virtual pilgrimages."