“And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”
The start of the Camino is not in St. Jean Pied-de-Port or in St. Puy-en-Velay. It’s at home. Centuries ago pilgrims set off on foot from their towns and villages, walking across Europe to the traditional starting points of the Chemin or Camino.
This morning I found myself sitting in the small lobby of the shuttle service that would take me to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. In the history of the Camino 24 hours in transit are barely the equivalent of seconds.
Nevertheless, like pilgrimages in all ages, this one requires leave taking — leaving the embrace of loved ones, watching familiar and beloved landscapes recede.
When I was younger, setting off was an adventure. I wanted to be everywhere I wasn’t. Nowadays I find myself holding tighter and tighter onto what I know and love. In short, I feel more apprehensive than anything, and today is no exception.
But after all, I’m not embarking for the entire Camino, and over the next two weeks I’ll be in the company of the pilgrims in my group. The question is whether I can hear “the word” behind me or find the way to walk through my personal fog of apprehension, or in the sped-up time I have to make my modern pilgrimage.