Chasing shadows. It’s what we do every day on the Camino.
Walking ever westward our shadows are impossibly long in the morning but get shorter and shorter as the sun makes its way through the day. The body has become accustomed to the rigors of walking all day, every day. Now we pass onto the high plain known as the “meseta” – the mental crucible due to its seemingly endless straight and flat trails. Some find it dull, but this is where the mind and heart are brought to a reckoning.
We are confronted by our shadow relentlessly. It challenges us. It reminds us of our lives. It is personal and it is cruel. It points an accusing finger at us. “Where were you when that kid lost his eye in the explosion? You could have stopped him….” “Why did you this???” Why did you that???” “Why didn’t you do it???” Relentless. We continue chasing our shadow across the Meseta day after day.
We dread the mornings when the shadow is impossibly long like a gruesome specter.
After what seems like an eternity, the shadow begins to ease up. Slowly, it stops being so Damn dark. Stops being cruel. It reminds us that there have been others who have also cast shadows, who have also walked this path. We aren’t that different.
This path is ancient and this shadow is something we have all endured. Perhaps it is not so cruel after all. This is a turning point.
As we leave the Meseta we begin to realize that the shadow belongs to us.
That it is of our own making.
We realize the shadow is us.
Thomas P. & Ward G.