How simple Relationships can be. ‘The Camino’ is a perfect illustration.
On the Camino, we have so much in common with so many. Basically, everyone is striving to eventually reach, approximately the same destination, in Santiago de Compostela, or, perhaps Finistere, or Muxia.
On a daily basis, to over-simplify it, most Pilgrims are proceeding Westerly. Daily distance goals and objectives are relative to the Transportation Mode of choice, such as Feet, Bikes, Chairs, 4-Wheels, Horses, whatever. Other impactful variables include Health, Weather, Terrain & Elevation differentials, and, the unexpected from the ‘World-At-Large’.
To consider the ‘Camino Community’, let’s play ‘Pretend’.
Recently, a ‘Visitor’ arrived from another Galaxy, and spent a couple months, observing Pilgrims, in action, out on ‘The Track’. When the ‘Visitor’ filed a ‘Report’ to ‘The Superiors’, it read as follows…
***Note to File: The daily routine of Pilgrims, is to navigate ‘The Way of Saint James, The Apostle’, by proceeding, sometimes alone, emersed in introspection; but also, often in a continually evolving cluster of variable sized groups… with or without expressed communications.
There is much interest in ‘Historical & Artistic’ sites, scenery and locations, yet to be observed, and/or situations and vistas, recently enjoyed, or suffered.
Most info-flow tends to congeal regarding, ‘In The Moment’ minutiae. A few of the many, repetitive topics include: The Weather and Terrain and Distances, Water, Blisters and Aches & Pains, Hiking Boots and Socks, Back-Packs, Weather-Gear, Poles & Sticks, Sun-Block, ‘Sello Stamps’, ‘Waymarkers’, and, Albergue locations and accommodations. Prices are important, and so are Consumables, such as Food, Refreshments, possible Transportation alternatives, General Supplies, Laundries, and Pharmaceuticals. Intellectual digestion prevails.
There is also a preponderance of focus on ‘The Spiritual’, including associated locations and points of interest. This impacts both individually, and, can be ‘communed en masse’, periodically. There are many references to the ‘Soul’, or the ‘Essence’. Yet, there are many widely disparate interpretations, some potentially controversial.
Fascinating to observe, is the extraordinary Communication Methods. First, one must realize, that it is commonplace for groups to consist of Pilgrims from many different Nations, Languages, Races & Cultures, Beliefs & Practices and Value-Systems; also, not only Age and Fitness ranges, but also, Political, Personal and Social Preferences.
Pilgrims often utilize Smiling & Laughter, Hand-Shaking, Hugging & Embracing, High-Fiving & Fist-Pumps, and Back-Patting. Tears of Joy or Relief, or, of Anticipation and Doubts are not unusual.
Prayer, Singing, Chanting, Whispering, or merely nodding and winking, are all regularly effective. It’s often an explosion of quite an animated well-intended cacophony. ‘Traffic Cops’ and ‘Third Base Coaches’ could be humbled by the creative hand-gestures and ‘Ventriloquists’ would envy the elastic face gesticulations.
My Report concludes with the realization of how shockingly-well Pilgrims seem to get along, without actually knowing anything about each others ‘Real’ lives. In fact, what conveys, to the contrary, is that everything seems to immediately ‘feel’ different, upon the introduction of a thinly disguised, innocuous ‘Vertical Question’, such as, “So, then, what is it, that you actually ‘do’?”