(inspired by and with permission from Cathy Birdsong Dutchak at https://wanderessence.com/)
To be brought a small bowl
Cacahuates—do I recall that rightly?
In a courtyard of an albergue
To accompany the glass of wine I’ve ordered
In the north of Spain
Somewhere along the pilgrim trail
On the other side of Spain, Hemingway might be
With or without companions
I hope with
He could have done with more company than
Cats (apologies to the six-toe-to-a-paw friends who
still retain his houses in the Keys,
I’m not sure I could take the path
Maybe for a while
But I could sit there inside a breeze
Of northern Spain
Contemplate the pilgrimage
The pilgrims of all kinds
Have a sip
Reach for the bowl
Taste and see
C L Couch
(on the pilgrim trail to Campostela)
Option to Valverde de la Virgen (3.4 km)
Each day on the Camino, you don’t know what you’ll encounter as you walk in the footsteps of thousands of pilgrims. Sometimes you find pleasant surprises such as the oasis of my albergue, La Casa del Camino: Albergue de Peregrinos.
Though it sits along a busy road, it was a beautiful spot with couches and comfy chairs, lounge chairs, hammocks, and beds on the lawn for lounging. There were areas under canopies and umbrellas and a line of square foot baths, and the most welcoming owners you could ever meet. When I arrived, they presented me with a glass of cold fresh orange juice as they checked me in.
Bowls of apples sat on tables, flower boxes and hanging baskets dotted the space around an above-ground swimming pool (with no water), gardens bloomed, and Buddhas reclined and sat, looking serene.
I sat outside having a glass of wine and one of the owners brought me a small bowl of peanuts.
When I have happened upon places such as these, I felt so joyful and grateful for the peaceful and refreshing surroundings.
This place rates up with a number of top albergues along the Camino. There are fair shares of bad and mediocre ones.
Photo by Les routes sans fin(s) on Unsplash
Perspectives on hills, pilgrims on the way. /// Le sommet d’une colline dévoile parfois une perspective hors du temps.
August 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm
Oh Christopher, I love this! I love how you use the Spanish “Bendiciónes Pequeñas” (Small Blessings) as the title, and the Spanish words for peanuts and hostel. Also, I love this part: But I could sit there inside a breeze / Of northern Spain / Contemplate the pilgrimage / The pilgrims of all kinds / Have a sip / Reach for the bowl / Taste and see. I love how you have captured so perfectly the little blessings of this place, this moment, those peanuts and wine, the pleasure, the wonder at the pilgrims who have walked the Camino over centuries. Small blessings indeed.
Also, I’m a big Hemingway fan and I didn’t know about his trout fishing in Spain (was that in A Farewell to Arms, which I read so long ago?). Neither did I know about cats in his house in the Keys and in Cuba. Very interesting connections there.
I did an experiment in a poem using Spanish words interspersed with English words in one of my Camino poems. I don’t think it worked too well as most people told me they liked the all-English version better. But I liked my version with the Spanish. Spanish plays such a role on the Camino that the words become interspersed with English words during the experience.
By the way, I would like very much to include the link to this on my next poem, which also happens to be about another aspect of the Camino, to publish next Friday, September 6. Please let me know if that will be okay. 🙂