“The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”- John Milton, Paradise Lost
One of my favorite albums, Plastic Ono Band, came out a year after the breakup of the the Beatles, in 1970. John Lennon was transitioning into a career as a solo artist and trying to create a new identity. He had a lot of pain lurking below the surface, mainly from being orphaned as a child. So he and Yoko Ono underwent “Primal Therapy” where they screamed in the hope there would be a cathartic release of pain and childhood trauma. These primal screams are incorporated into the album, especially the song Mother. No amount of money, fame, or adoration could heal his feeling of abandonment. My journey was in the same vain of returning to a primal state in the hopes of extracting the pain nestled away in my subconscious. Sitting here today, I still haven’t scratched the surface, but it is a daily and continuous effort.
Many come to the Camino in a transition period, because, specifically Americans, say “I can’t get more than two weeks off from my job so I can’t do it.” and let their whole life pass by, chained to a desk. So sometimes it takes a major life tragedy or transition, like a divorce or a death to do a walk like the Camino.
Rollie and I said goodbye to the two Danes today after 15 miles. Peter had a sore achilles tendon and had an aversion to taking too many “painkillers.”
“It’s just ibuprofen.” I said. A few days in I was taking 2000 mg spaced throughout the day. The large pills of 600 mg (triple the dose of one Advil) are sold from behind the counter and need to be requested from the pharmacist in Spain. Ibuprofen was a valuable commodity on the trail, to blunt the inevitable foot and leg soreness. I feel nostalgia for the group I met in the first few days of the hike.
In the last 5 miles, we walked through a ghost town, with buildings, condos, and not a single person inhabiting them. We agreed it must have been hit hard by the economic collapse. I was waiting for zombies to come out like the movie Dawn of the Dead.
Brain has reached max capacity. My impatience and hunger are at an all-time high from calorie depletion. I asked for water at dinner and they brought me a large bottle that they would charge me for. I am used to receiving complementary glasses of ice water at restaurants in the U.S. “The service in Spain sucks. They’re so fucking lazy here.” I said. Rollie had covered the same amount of miles of me that day but was holding himself together better. For the first night on the trip I felt completely isolated and apart, not associating with any others at the large multi-floor hostel.