Posted by: givney42 | October 5, 2010

The journey will continue.

Arrived in Santiago on a very rainy, cold and windy Sunday. We were able to squeeze in to see the noon pilgrim mass. Since the archbishop was present, they did the swinging of the giant bofarfumeiro. Which for those who don’t know is a huge incense burner. It takes 8 men to hold the different ropes to swing it as it nearly touches the ceiling. I was told that originally it was used to fumigate the pilgrims. And on that very wet, cold and windy Sunday that may have been a necessary thing. 

There was no seating as the place was completely packed, but found the base of one of the pillars just the right height as a step and sat there. 

Out of breath from the last bit of a climb and literally dripping wet, I started to cry when the organist played A Mighty Fortress is our God. This was one of the first hymns I learned as a child and to hear it being played and feeling the reverberation of the organ through the air did it to me. I sat there on the pillar wept on Nigel’s shoulder as he snuggled into me. 

Others went up for communion and then the assistants swung the incense burner. It was pretty amazing to see this huge ornate silver burner swinging to nearly touch the ceiling. People clapped afterwards which kind of took away the feeling of the moment. 

But the most moving of all was listening and feeling the organ be played where and as it should. It reminded me of how small things really are. And reminded me of when I was small and living in Portland and hearing the organ being played and how that sound would feel in my bones. 

When the service was finished, I guess where I was sitting was near where all the priests and others walk to take off their robes. Nigel and I stood to watch and saw the archbishop in all his garb of pointy hat and staff. He was shaking hands with people as he walked by slowly. Nigel with his bright orange rain poncho on did a stretch bow and the archbishop saw this. He came over, put his hand on Nigel’s VERY wet head and them made the sign of the cross. He then took my hand and bowed his head and moved on. 

Here amongst all these other important people who would turn and avert their eyes at Nigel and I, which I must say we did look really bad. Truly pilgrims.  Soaked to the bones with my green rain poncho and Nigel in his with his ears dripping wet. This man not only acknowledged us stopped to take our hand. To see us for what we really were, pilgrims in a land strange to us, being present in the moment. It was a calming moment which felt good. 

I picked up my compostela and we headed for our hostel room. Tired, drained, and wet, we slept well that night and Nigel slept much of Monday as well. 

While walking in the streets I have run into many people I met along The Way. Many have asked what items am I buying to remember this trip. I tell them I already have what I need and move on. 

This started as a journey as all life is, but while this portion has ended there is much that will be coming back with me. It may not be physical items but the memories and lessons learned along The Way are enough for me. 


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