Is this the world I really want to see – El Real to Monesterio

Today, 22nd January, in the lesson planner for A course in miracles, it asks us to repeat the following exercise – Look about you. As your eyes move slowly from one thing to another say, ‘I see only the perishable. I see nothing that will last. What I see is not real. What I see is a form of vengeance. Is this the world I really want to see?’

I completed this exercise but I’m really not wholly sure what it meant, something about our minds putting meaning on neutrality. And besides, today was a joyous day, the dance of form was in full flow as I walked from Andalusia into Extremadura and continued through the Sierra Norte with its pigs, sheep, cows and most majestic trees. It was a world I wanted to see, it felt like taking a soul bath, being among all that life. I was happy just walking and looking at nature. I wasn’t thinking about my impending new job or the fact I’m 38 and child-less or any other of the plethora of neurotic tendencies that bother me through the course of a normal day!


After lunch at a busy and somewhat less soulful service station the second half of my walk took a dramatic emotional turn as, just off the main road, the Camino took a turn down a country lane and up ahead were a herd of goats, sleeping, all huddled up in the mid day sun. I couldn’t wait to get over to them and say hello but as I got closer I got an eerie feeling as they didn’t stir as I drew near. To my horror, it was a pile of fresh goat carcasses, about 10 dead goats just piled on top of each other and left by the side of the road – directly on the Camino path. (there is no photo – it’s safe to read on!)


It was a shocking site, so surprising, something I so didn’t want to see, that my brain at first couldn’t acknowledge it – especially having spent the last two days in such alive nature. I kept looking at the pile, from face to face to prove to myself that I had it wrong, they were just sleeping. Then as it sunk in and I made my way past the goats, I felt my lip begin to tremble, I was so upset for the goats and couldn’t think why they could be lying there or what might have happened to them – then a car came towards me from the opposite direction and immediately I pulled myself together with force, can’t let a stranger see you mourning for goats after all. What a strange species we are!


There’s five of us here today. I’m by far the oldest. I realised I could be the mother of any one of these fellow pilgrims. I’m glad other people are here. No one has mentioned the goats though we all would have passed them. I didn’t mention them either.

I’ve developed a couple of interdigital blisters so went to the chemist to find some toe separators. They’re strange things that seem to work better if I put them on the toes that are stepping on the toes with the blisters. There’s a washer and dryer here – but I’ve had the dryer on twice and the clothes are not dry really – the Camino – whichever one you take – is beset by substandard secadoras.


Monesterio has its own ham museum and its own ham logo. This is the largest town on the Camino since Seville with several choices of restaurant this evening. I can feel secure in the knowledge that ham will feature prominently in every dish.

I think i’ll pass. You’re still thinking about the goats aren’t you? Me too.


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