6 may


So, our century is over. It’s Julie’s birthday and we are 101 years old together for a few months.
We were talking about some of the memories. About the leaking roof on the first night, about the search for and loss of cats, about living in a castle. Julie said her ‘century’ consisted of three parts: the Romanesq churches, the Camino and the family trip with Mary and now with Shelly and Wayne.
I still see it as a journey towards the 12th century. We chose the period because we liked the architecture and the sculpting, but it is also the period when the Camino flourished and the time the monastery in Silos was established. And it is the time that the power of Cluny was eroded. Cluny was as powerful in those days as nowadays the United States are – or as I like to think the dominance of the church then was comparable to the primary role of banks in the current society.
It definitely has been a luxury to have so much time for ourselves. Time will have to prove if it was also worth it. I definitely feel reenergized, but realize I would have had that same feeling if we would have returned to normal life five months ago, or if I would only have walked the Camino.
Living in the camper has been a marvel. It is lovely to be back in Merlin again. We fall into the same old patterns of waking up, reaching over to start the kettle for coffee and listening to Julie announcing the first of her many weather reports. Like in life itself these clouds will fade away too.
Julie and I walked into Santiago together and we went to get my so called Compostella. It was much busier there then three weeks ago. I was standing in line behind a Frenchman who had also walked from Le Puy. It was fun to talk about Conques and Moissac and the Aubrac mountains. This guy mentioned all the lovely little flowers he saw there. I told him about the half metre of snow that fell when I was passing.
The signing of the Compostella was nice. The main thing to decide was which name to use. They latinize your name to make it look all a little formal. Although my baptized name Josephus sounds latin enough to me it would have to be spelled as Josephum for some reason. But I could also choose Iustom, which was derived from Joost. Josephum it was.
The woman who finished the document told me that I could really get two Compostella’s, because I had walked from Le Puy and from Salamanca. I told her that I considered it one journey but also bought a separate certificate that indicated how many kilometres I had walked. Adding the two journeys together came to 1994 kilometres in total.
At first I thought it was a pity it was just short of 2000 kilometres, but then I had to think of the symbolism of this whole journey. So here we were together in the period that the two of us were a hundred years old. We started on my birthday 15 september in Clairvaux, the valley of Claire. We ended after 234 days (23-4 being Claire’s birthday) on Julie’s birthday May 6th, having walked 1994 kilometres representing the year before Claire was born and thus being the year she was conceived. And with this last juggling of numbers as if it was always meant to be this way, I consider this blog as being finished.