Walking in the Fog
I finally got to Terradillos de los Templarios on my first day along the Camino de Santiago. I left Burgos after touring the beautiful Gothic Cathedral (where the legendary warrior El Cid is buried) by hailing a taxi and finding out the cost of going over 100 km to get to the guys, $130 Euro. Ouch. After an hour of driving through the green hills, we finally stopped at the alburgue. I saw fellow mentor and old friend Mac hanging out in the front yard along with Hugh. The alburgue was nice and clean. The Northern Spanish sky was big and blue. It reminded me of my home in Northern New Mexico. There were even snow capped mountains in the distance. What a stunning place to begin the Camino I thought. Especially after paying the most I’ve ever had to pay for a taxi to get from Burgos to Terradillos. Nevermind. It was worth it to finally find the guys.
The Way beckoned.
There were miles to cover and conversations to be had, and hopefully, sound advice to be shared under the big sky of Northern Spain. My roommates were Seth, Mac and Damon. We talked and joked and laughed and generally reverted back to summer camp days of our adolescence. Now if we had only figured out that the grungy gym smell were our hiking books that we left in our rooms and not out in the hallway in the proper place, it would have been a perfect first night!
We awakened at 0530. It was still dark outside. Not to mention cold, the temperature hovering in the upper 30s. But, what grabbed my attention as I took my first step on the ancient pilgrimage route was this: fog.
I mean it was really foggy. Thick, wet, San Francisco fog. I immediately thought of my daughter Marisa, who as a young child, told me she had only two wishes. One of them was to touch the clouds. Well, I was touching the clouds. Or rather, they were enveloping me.
I bundled up.
Black watch cap on, and gloves on, I took my first step into the damp air. As we walked past the first town it grew a bit lighter. Trees and fields were rendered in a pixilated way. I felt as though I were walking through the painting of a French impressionist. Zeb was just a bit ahead, striding onward with his Gandalf like walking stalk. The dawn was just able to penetrate the lingering blanket of fog.
This was not what I expected of sunny Spain.
Adventure was afoot. And I knew this would be a special trip. The Lord was present in each drop of moisture surrounding me and the fields. As we slowly walked above the fog into the rolling hills, I thought of the verse, “…the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:37
That first morning we would be introduced to a phenomenon of the Way—chance encounters with fellow Pilgrims who we would keep running into over the next couple of weeks.
Marina was her name. She was Dutch and tall and a really fast walker. My late sister was named Marina so I took a real liking to the Dutch Marina. The Kingdom Journey guys would cross paths with Marina many times. She would later sing praise songs next to Damon—but more of that later.
Suffice it to say, I didn’t realize that first morning walking through the clouds that we would keep crossing paths with the same pilgrims. It was amazing. It was not my plan, but it was no accident.
This would be a different kind of trip.