Though it’s a rhetorical question I sing, Derek Thompson has decided this one road matters! So, without any further ado, we present:
Some people call it The Pilgrim’s Way but my mother, God rest her soul, she named it The Road of Demons. She returned from each European trip less burdened and – in her own words – closer to God. I figure she actually meant further from the memory of her husband, my father. Last I heard he was still walking his own road and taking his demons along for the ride, housed in bottles like genies and eager for release.
She left us without warning on a spring morning, oh, two years ago now, when the blood red corn poppies swayed in the promise of summer. I tried with dad a final time, distilling my rage into tears for what had been taken and what would now be forever lost. He barely recognized me, while I saw something in him that only the saintly could forgive, and I wasn’t one of them.
The way I’d heard it from mom, he was one of the last demons she’d shaken on that long trail to Compostela, cast off at the roadside like dust from a sandal.
Two years on and I’m following in her footsteps, ready to lay my burdens behind me, step by step. Willing, at last, to stop blaming the past for a present that I perpetuate. I fancy sometimes that I hear her footfalls crunching on the ground beside me, or imagine her face peering out from the scallop shells when the sun strikes them just so.
I mark my time now, not by days or by the slowly turning shadows on sundials, but by the softening of my heart. It has been a long journey and my Pilgrim’s Passport is marked not only by the stamps of my refuge, but also by the indelible tales of my fellow travellers. We are all here for our own reasons, some seeking and some escaping. I’ve yet to decide which category is mine.
The night before we reached Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela I woke up sweating, gasping for air, and went out to the infinite stars. I knelt there, weeping, yearning for the conclusion of my journey, and fearing it too. The next day I lit a candle for my father and prayed for him, just like my mother.
Do you have the duende to walk this camino? (P.S. This is from the “Little Ashes” soundtrack…my husband–I MEAN–Robert Pattinson stars as the eccentric artist to end all eccentric artists, Salvador Dali)
Don’t forget to leave Derek a kind word and to share! Contest deadline is March 4th, 2017!!!