had little idea, as I sat contemplating you on the small jet from Madrid to Biarritz, of the eternal influence you’d leave on me. Today, and every day since disbanding in Santiago, I have thought reverently of you. I’ve shed countless tears reviewing certain memories and burst into laughter at others, namely the numerous tomfooleries committed with my pilgrim ‘gang.’ I am longing to be reunited with you. But, I’m not ready. I’m not yet prepared to open that door again. You’re not calling me loudly enough, but
I do hear you.
had little idea you’d show me love, lifelong friends, and a new way of connecting to people. Please accept my sincerest thanks for giving me those six weeks to spend with Ryan, my pilgrim companion (from the first day to the last), with Nati, mi peregrina guapisima, Jan Savage, the little brother I’d needed and never had, and Brendan (Lord of the Strings), my fellow ukulelist (I was the Duke of Uke) and (j)ukebox.
had little idea that you could shatter me and restore me so many times. Each day a new campaign, a new opportunity to discover, a new hot sun, a new cafe con leche, a new impersonation of John Brierley to get the gang cackling, a new pilgrim song for our four-stringed beasts, and a new erratic line drawn across the map.
had little idea that one night I’d sneak out of an auberge and make love on your sacred ground, I’m not sorry for this, I’m glad you were there. I am sorry for any cigarette butts I flicked away, I mostly did my best to pick them up. Maybe I drank too much.
Maybe I didn’t look up enough. Maybe I talked when I should have taken notice. I certainly overlooked the religious element, but I sensed something spiritual, of that I’m certain. My worrying hallucination in Logroño Cathedral. Was that you? The pilgrim candle’s flicker, was that you too? The lonely water fountain on the hottest day, in the most remote of places… I know that was you.
had little idea that I’d finish your mercurial path so utterly lost that I would wonder (and wander) for months on end if I’d done the right thing in participating. After I finished you, I rented a small place in Portugal for a month and spent most of my time walking through the national park. It was nice to be alone. One day while I was there, I went and had your famous conch tattooed on my chest. Every morning I see you in the mirror and it takes me back.
had no idea you’d be the greatest experience
era of my life (so far).
those who have known you could ever come close to understanding.
and I both started as just a little idea.
Still trying to find my way.
Sincerely, a pilgrim