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!

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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!)

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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!

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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.

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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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