I am bound to praise the simple life, because I have lived it and found it good.

One year ago Peggy and I were in St Jean pied de port France….preparing to start our Camino the following morning.

John Burroughs’ writing so clearly communicates my discoveries on the Camino. I don’t believe i really recognized it until I read his description of the simple life. Perhaps more importantly, it has taken a year back in the “trappings’ of my luxurious life to recall what I had discovered.

Yes, I could return to the Camino to recapture those joys…only to lose them again at my return home…and our winters in Montana, although filled with comfort, do keep me in sync with the outdoors, nature and creation. I can embrace the simpler life here…here and now.

Live & Learn

I am bound to praise the simple life, because I have lived it and found it good. When I depart from it, evil results follow. I love a small house, plain clothes, simple living. Many persons know the luxury of a skin bath — a plunge in the pool or the wave unhampered by clothing. That is the simple life — direct and immediate contact with things, life with the false wrappings torn away — the fine house, the fine equipage, the expensive habits, all cut off. How free one feels, how good the elements taste, how close one gets to them, how they fit one’s body and one’s soul! To see the fire that warms you, or better yet, to cut the wood that feeds the fire that warms you; to see the spring where the water bubbles up that slakes your thirst, and to dip your pail into…

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The Pull of the Ocean

Last year at this time Peggy and I were only a month away from our departure to Spain. Although we did not walk from Santiago to Cape Finisterre, I, too found Santiago wonderful…but not the ‘finish’ I expected. Our days at the ocean fed my soul and helped bracket my days on the Camino.

camino times two

ocean The pilgrim’s boot at Finisterre

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

 – Jacques Cousteau

Most pilgrims and hikers on the Camino set out for Santiago. But for me, the walk was always about reaching the ocean. I would walk west until my feet touched water, and there was no more “west” to walk.

Santiago was a nice stop, with lots of great traditions, but it wasn’t the end. I didn’t get sentimental or reflective there, even as I watched the botafumeiro swing and hugged St. James himself.

But on the rocks of Finisterre, watching the sun set over the ocean that I’d only ever seen from the other side, the journey felt complete, and the enormity of what we’d done finally hit me. We had walked to the End of the World.

We lingered in Fisterra (the town that is closest to…

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