It was ten months ago today that we left the United States and we marked the occasion with a very memorable moment on our Camino journey – reaching the highest point at 5000 feet in the Montes de Leon range.
For thousands of years pilgrims have marked their own moments here, and beneath the iron cross a mountain of stones and mementos symbolize the collective journey.
Throughout the Camino we have noticed stones placed on wayfinding, markers and crosses. I wasn’t
sure why, so I googled and learned the placing of a stone in this manner is said to be a way of leaving your sorrows behind. And truly many pilgrims leave not only a stone but
perhaps a photo of a lost loved one.
Even though we knew we would be walking the Camino before we left the USA I hadn’t heard about the tradition of bringing a rock from your home to place at the Cruz de Ferro. So
over the past months on our travels I have collected three items. I was going to chose just one but now I feel compelled to leave all three.
First the stone heart I found on the beach in Portugal. We leave this to represent our love for each other and our sons.
Next the coral I picked up on the beach in the Seychelles. I like the branches that represent our families back home whom we miss and love.
Finally the shell from a beach in Thailand. To me it is symbolic, the empty vessel holding dear all our friends throughout our lives.
Today at the Cruz de Ferro it was truly a sacred and emotional place for many pilgrim to let go of their sorrows. Pilgrims walk for many reasons including gratitude for surviving illness or disaster or in memory of a loved one. Some people finish the walk for loved ones who have died on the trail. It happens more than you might think. So arriving at the iron cross means many things to many people and we certainly felt the healing power there.
It may sound corny, but I feel gratitude for this journey we are on and thankful I can share it. Gratitude is my religion and today at the Cruz de Ferro our hearts were full.
Total miles so far 350. 139 miles to go.