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.