Monday, 27 July 2009

On Angels' Wings?

Monday July 20th: I am out early, or at least as early as either I or Karen and Katrina want to make it. We walk more or less together for a while. In Barro on the wall I had seen a poster of some waterfalls and old stone mills and was determined to look out for this place even though it was not in my guide. Just about a km from Briallos I spotted a sign indicating a Natural Area some 300 kms from the Camino and decided to investigate.

I am so glad that I did.

The area is called Los Barosos. I can hardly believe that pilgrims of old would not have stopped by this place and certainly it was known to the Romans anyway. I had the cascades all to myself, and believe me, my feet rated it Number One Attraction of the Camino Portugues...aaah!

Just before crossing the bridge into Caldas de Reis there is the Church of St. Maria. It is hot and I decide to stop for a while, but just before I can even get my pack off my sore shoulders a swallow falls at my feet.

I don't know if any of you have read Jack Hitt's wonderful "Off the Road" but the same thing happens to him on La Meseta just as a storm approaches. Jack is having delusional mirages by this time...anyway...

I dropped the pack and the bordon and picked the poor thing up very carefully. I sat down on the edge of a gravestone and covered it up momentarily and then a good 10 minutes just stroking it gently and talking to it. It was truly stunned and showed no sign of movement at all. I thought it would die there on my lap.

However, gradually it began to move its wings, and then to spread them out gradually. I photographed all of this and will add at least one later. Just before it spread it's wings out to their full capacity it turned its head to me and looked at me for perhaps two seconds, almost as though it was saying "thank you". Then with some initial hesitation, it took off into the sky. I was left completely humbled at what I had just experienced. For those 20 minutes there simply was nothing else in the world but me and that little swallow.

Asi es el Camino...

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