We’re still mad at each other when we stop for breakfast. Brenda asks how she can help, and I grumpily tell her not to ask me to be positive right now. Dorcinda cries and says she wants to walk alone. I apologize, as best I can, and try to explain why I was so angry. But we separate for a time.
Dorcinda and I make up over the course of a few hours, and I cry later on. Brenda leaves us alone for a while, walking ahead. I spend most of the day walking alone, trying to take note of all the small things I would not have seen if I were walking and talking. There are surprisingly few pilgrims on the road, given how many we saw around O Cebreiro. Here are some notes I took along the way:
I sipped water from a leaf in a graveyard gutter
I supped from the shell of a snail
I let my fingers linger on a mossy rock
Trailing through the soft green and wet dew
I saw in a hole in a wall a cylinder of spider web
I wondered if it could catch my breath
It quivered and tried, but my breath went on through
I stepped over the jawbone of a deer
Or perhaps, a cow
Teeth still intact, all in a row, half-buried in the leaves
I saw a cradle of thorns, slung low between two branches
There’s a cross in the woods outside of Portomarin, where we resume walking together. Taking a closer look, Dorcinda knocks down a passport sized photo of a woman. The photo is labeled “Debs. 1982 – 2012.” There are other photos adorning the cross, and we wonder who was first. How common is it for pilgrims to carry the same size photos of their deceased loved ones? How did they know or decide to leave them here, of all the places along the 500 miles we walk?
In the hostel at Gonzar, we meet a woman from Lithuania and I note that we’ve now covered two-thirds of the Baltics. We’ve still got a few days left to meet someone from Latvia to complete the full set. She’s part of a small group that is really booking it to Santiago, walking 40 km days.
Our host offers us home-made wine, which is refreshing enough and remarkably cheap. The grapes grow right on the hostel itself.
Sleep does not come easily in this hostel, even though its not terribly full. One man sleeps on some kind of storm blanket in place of a sleeping bag. It’s basically shiny yellow wrapping paper, and it crinkles obscenely with the slightest movement.