Uncertainty

Uncertainty is the only certainty on the Camino

I entered Galicia in fog. O’Cebreiro was an apparition, the buildings barely visible in the misty rain. I missed the church whose priest reinvigorated the Camino for the twentieth century. He painted the ubiquitous yellow arrows that mark the Way. Because of him, the number of pilgrims increased from a few to the hundreds of thousands that now pass through O’Cebreiro every year. 

I passed through a string of villages, bars and bathrooms. My knees ached, and I argued with myself about sending my pack on the next day. Sending my pack on always provoked a storm of anxiety. When I set out most mornings, I never knew where I would end up. I chose a provisional destination and a potential albergue and if I didn’t make it I stopped and looked in my guide for the closest accommodation. If I sent my pack on, I would have to book a bed and make sure I arrived to fill it.  
Uncertainty is the only certainty on the Camino. An albergue might be open and a bed free – or not. My pack might arrive at an albergue before me, or not until next day. I might see a congenial companion after lunch or never make contact again.  A cafe might be open in the next village for second breakfast or it may have closed forever. The grocery shop in the next town may open in the morning or not until siesta is well over. I soon learnt to tolerate uncertainty. 

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