The last week saw an influx of pilgrims eager to hike the final 100 kilometers of the camino necessary for their Compostella certificates. The path for a couple of days was crowded with new faces and fresh equipment.

We, who knew the earlier, more generous towns of the camino, who had eaten meals offered by locals for donations, who had patched broken packs with safety pins–– we had a hundred photographs of the same sun, and we, behind the camera, were a hundred times the hidden variable.
img_2109We were weathered, comfortable hiking 35 or even 40 kilometers to their 20. We left them behind and had peace the last few days into Santiago, arriving the Wednesday before Easter.

Four weeks of walking west. Every day, we’d woken with the sun at our backs and followed it in the afternoon into its descent.

We made it to Finistère, where we sat on the edge of the cliffs above the Atlantic. There was nothing before us, only the ocean that stretched out until it met the sky, and somewhere beyond that, we imagined, the islands and continents. We watched the last sunset of our journey with our former selves and let the baggage of our past sink into the horizon.

Each step of the journey, we’d had to listen primarily to our own bodies, to cater to our own needs so that we could make it so far. Yet the camino was the most selfless, most loving community many of us had ever witnessed. There was something to be learned about knowing oneself intimately enough to understand one’s true “needs.” We lived simply, we shared everything, we felt often in abundance, and we were happy.