I was musing last night, over a sumptuous Galician meal of many courses, that I know of no other place where persons of all ages, nationalities, faiths (or non), levels of income, and political persuasions come together in such harmony. We remain distinctly different from one another, but something about the Camino itself imparts generosity of spirit and kindness.
I think the kindnesses that move me most are those of the local Spaniards who live along the Way and have taken it upon themselves to create endless yellow arrows, signs with sticks and stones, or brass shells embedded into the sidewalk when there’s no place to paint an arrow. They wish thousands and thousands a Buen Camino to pilgrims walking through. They go out of their way to stop you if you somehow take a wrong turn.
Yesterday, when I went to the cathedral to do the customary hug of the apostle, it was for all these people, especially the nearly toothless man, several days ago, who beckoned me into his garden and picked a dahlia and gave me an almond and a walnut from his trees.
I have caught only brief bits of news from home while here but enough to know that in the US election fever is a near deadly state. Here, getting along seems so simple.
A final thought about critical thinking, not the capacity to analyze complexity and made sound judgements. I was thinking about how easy it is to be critical (negative) as a default position, critical of people, ourselves, the weather, whatever. I think it possible to consciously assume an alternative attitude. Not easy, takes practice. I’m working on it.