365 Days of Earrings

Friday, March 11, 2011

Camino Frances

I've been using this computer since September, eyeing its build-in webcam and thinking I should really try to Skype. When a parent offered that his friend in Spain could spend a few minutes answering my students' questions, I decided the time had come.

After several hours (mine and those of Lisa, our tech woman; the guys who coordinate our network; and Hunt, who loves all high-tech gizmos and knows where to find a plug-in microphone at the last minute) of downloading Smart board software and Skype software, running wiring and attaching cables, and mastering assorted other challenges step-by-step, by 10:15 this morning I was chatting with Enrique in Madrid, hoping that the speaker who was describing the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela would finish in time for the children to chat before another group arrived to use our classroom at 10:30. Success. Although the resolution was not quite what Ellen Page sees when she walks into that classroom that is on a "field trip" to China, the effect was just as good. Without lots of perseverance, though, it could have been a disaster!

Encountering and mastering obstacles step-by-step: I think that is my theme today. As Lee Sandstead, our speaker about the pilgrimage, described his walk on the Camino Frances, the main route to Santiago from France, I found myself longing to go on this pilgrimage. A walk of 600 miles, one foot in front of the other, on a well-trod route through gorgeous countryside. 
Those on the pilgrimage carry a scallop shell that symbolizes some of the miracles associated with Saint James, but also the convergence of the many routes all leading to his shrine in Santiago. (Note the yellow scallop-shell image in the upper left-hand corner of the map.)

A route that shares my mother's name, whose symbol comes from the ocean she loved, and which requires dedication and a willingness to progress, step-by-step, to reach a goal. She taught me to know scallops and clams, whelks and conchs, as we beachcombed, slowly, hand-in-hand.

According to Chaucer, it's a little early to be dreaming of a Canterbury pilgrimage:
 Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
 And smale foweles maken melodye,
 That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages.
But I am dreaming of a pilgrimage. With a passport and stamps at each stop. With hostels to stay in and towns along the way. It's almost April; the small birds are singing; and I long to go on a pilgrimage. I'm inspired!
I think this is another pair of earrings that my daughter Kathe made for me one summer as we sat at the picnic table under that white pine tree.

I lost one set of beads today, probably while dancing the flamenco one last time. But I came home, looked in our bead box, and found some more to replace them. One-by-one.

1 comment:

Käthe said...

Beautiful post. I will never think of scallops the same way! I think we all need to go on a pilgrimage. A change to be reflective and start anew, with each step.