The Closed Circle

Shell poetry in Finisterre

Last summer I finished my camino at the end of the world in Finisterre, a lovely beach town where I swam all day, collected a sackful of perfect scallop shells, and sat for hours in the morning on the terrace drinking cups and cups of ghastly instant coffee. With a bit more time on my hands before heading back to the US I wandered a bit further, beyond the town of Muxia (another well known stop for pilgrims) to the Little Fox House. As I’ve mentioned before, this is a private home that serves as a post-camino retreat for pilgrims (like me) who’ve reached the end, holding this journey in their hands like a fragile new baby, unsure of how to hold it. It was there that I found some rest, some company to spill my guts to, and real, live drip coffee. This was the beginning of September 2014.

Near the end of September 2015, I will return to this place, the unofficial end point, to start again. My life is like that these days, big and little circles closing and starting again. I’ll spend almost two weeks at the Little Fox House looking after pilgrims while the owner is out and about. And then I’ve given myself another two weeks to walk a section of the camino. I’m not sure which way I’ll go; backward toward Santiago, take a bus north and walk the Camino Ingles, there are a lot of route options. If I learned anything from the camino last year, it is just to show up and let it happen.

I must tell you this return to Spain has taken me by surprise. Off guard. Aback. To be honest, I thought I’d learned my camino lessons, had shit figured out, was on my way toward a badass new life. And I have, and I sort of do, and I am. But obviously the camino has beckoned me back, to sit me down maybe for a talking to, or to clarify some un-ironed wrinkles, or to guide me in a whole new direction. All I know is that when those yellow arrow appear, it’s easier to just follow them already. Don’t fight it.

Last summer I crossed paths with several people walking their second, third, countless caminos. I thought, nah, that will never be me, a return to the camino might be something I get to do in the next decade. These people, who keep walking and walking, they’ve got issues, they haven’t learned their lessons, haven’t been willing to follow the arrows of their life. And so, guys, I am apparently one of those people. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong, but in any case, I’m nervous. Last summer was all about healing, self-forgiveness, acceptance of what is. What will the camino open my eyes to this year? Will I be led to more challenges? Will I be shown things I don’t want to see? I don’t know. I don’t any of that. All I know is the camino is calling, so I’m strapping on my back, hitting the road, and following the way.

As most of you know, I’m packing up Yellow Arrow Coffee and leaving Breckenridge in September for the East coast. When I return from Spain, I plan to finish and publish Follow That Arrow: Stories and Recipes on Getting Here From There. By next Spring, I’ll be hitting the road again on book tour. Follow my journey on Instagram: @gourmetgwen or @yellowarrowcoffee.

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2 thoughts on “The Closed Circle

  1. Girl, you keep surprising me…Wishing for more clarity on your second round and I will definitely be buying your book when it comes out…
    Do you think you will come back to the Big Island on book tour?

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    1. Not sure yet when I’ll return to Hawaii. Was hoping maybe this summer but it’s hard to say! Would love to make the Big Islands one of the book tour stops.

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