Staff Picks: On the Way
If you read A Spanish Sojourn, the account of Jim Timberlake’s pilgrimage along the Camino De Santiago in Spain in the September issue of Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine you may have found yourself imagining what such a “road trip” would be like. I’ve long been fascinated by accounts of people who have endured the intense journey. The traditional pilgrim route has various starting points in France, Spain and Portugal that eventually converge onto the one main path. There are mileposts and special passport stamps and an official “certificate” that can be authenticated in the cathedral for those who have walked to the final destination, the Cathedral of St. James. (Evidently, tour buses and taxi rides do not count.) According to Wikipedia over 260,000 people made the pilgrimage in 2015.
Several years ago, Emilio Estevez made a film about it starring his father, Martin Sheen. The Way tells the story of a bitter father’s decision to honor his deceased son’s wishes. The son had died unexpectedly in a violent storm in the Pyrenees. While bringing his ashes along the Camino to complete the journey the father confronts his own issues and is carried along by the fellowship and companionship of those also walking along the way.
In an emotional journey, Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago by Kerry Egan is a non-fiction account of the Harvard Divinity School student’s pilgrimage a year after the death of her father, which lead her to question her faith and search in hope for God’s presence along the road.
No less a personage than Shirley Maclaine took on the challenge and wrote about her admittedly unusual, not to say, rather hallucinogenic experiences along the path. The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit alternates between very detailed, realistic descriptions of the process of walking, eating, finding places to stay, people she met along the way and some cosmic commentary.
There’s something about walking that leads to self-discovery, no matter where you go or how far you travel.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tsu.
∼ Fran, Manager of Collection Services, Warrenton central library