I watched my feet heal as if in time-lapse photography, brought on by realizing that I had created my own experience of pain and suffering. We humans are so skilled at at creating that which we rehearse in our minds. We imagine conversations and experiences which we hope never to have, all in crisp detail. I thought I was past this particular lesson, after realizing that what I've reaped over the years, was first sewn in my mind. I said a heartfelt 'sorry' to myself, understanding that the newness of this Camino-experience had distracted me, and got ready to train. Today I will imagine healthy, strong, durable feet that would support my journey as they have for decades.
I am grateful, and even more relieved for the breakthrough as I applied the body glide generously, foregoing the tape, and slid the condom-socks over my toes and clumsily fit my five toes into the four compartments. Interesting that in life—and these shoes, the smallest must share space with its bigger sibling. Yet, I decided that's a bit more philosophical than I care to be for the moment and felt sure that I'd met my breakthrough quota for the week. I slipped my daypack on and headed in the opposite direction because the mountain was closed to prepared for the fireworks display to celebrate our country's independence.
I'll walk at a slower pace on level-ground and go past my nephew's house and knowing that the kids would be awake by now and might get a kick out of waving at me as I go by. I took out my cell phone and with sticks attached to my wrists attempted to text the mother of this orderly clan. It walked and texted, which is something I don't recommend. I got tied up in the sticks and stumbled, escaping a face drive on to the sidewalk. I was aware that I wanted to impress them as I trekked by. I finally hit send and looked up. I was disoriented, I stopped looked around but none of the houses looked familiar. Then it dawned on me that I had walked up the wrong street while texting. I giggled, wondering if I was the morning comic relief for someone peering out their window over their morning coffee. What story will they tell around the barbecue later today? "An Alps outcast went by my house today stumbling over her own walking poles as she frantically text. It was hilarious! I'll let you know if she comes by again and you can see for yourself."
I found the right wood-street and straighten my posture as I approached, but there were no signs of activity from a house occupied by a very hip thirty-something couple with a toddler and his gangly six year old sister. I was deflated by my own disappointment, which past after imaging them at an equally hip breakfast spot serving up an egg fusion delicacy.
I trekked on heading for my sister and brother-in-law house not but a mile or so from here. I conjured up a visual of my sister asking me to wait while she laces her walking shoes and takes a turn with me around the neighborhood. I smiled and increased my steps as if they would move me closer to my fantasy. My left heal sounded off with some discomfort. I reached the front of the house, it was quiet until their dogs detected me and sounded the alarm that someone was about to penetrate the invisible parameter. If they weren't up before, they are now. I walked up the path to the front door hoping the dogs would sense it was me and stop their incessant barking--no such luck. I saw a shadow of someone moving about in the kitchen. I drew closer and saw the window was open and my brother-in-law was feeding my nephew's toddler some breakfast. Over barking dogs I loudly said, "Hi there, I stopped by to say good morning. Where's my sister?" With some irritation he said that my nephew and his wife picked her up to join them for a workout at the athletic club. "Oh, okay." I said. I waved at the perplexed boy who could quite make out that it was me. I gave a distant "Have a great day." I rushed down the rock path to the street knowing that I was aiding in disturbing the early morning peace of the neighborhood.
I hadn't walked more than three or four miles and I was already on the way back to the house. I was sad which gave way to realizing that I have and have had unrealistic dream of a member of my family taking part in this or any of my adventures. I was taken back to other equally unrealistic day-dreams of standing on the platform in New Delhi as a train entered the station carrying my sister and mother. The smiles on their tired but astonished faces. I walked back to the house with the energy of renewed awareness, knowing that by the time I reached the house I would have worked through the radical acceptance that no one in my biological family had more than a mild interested in my journey.
By this time I was walking with a limp. I couldn't remember when my left heel began to hurt. My internal shaman was saying something about my achilles heel. I listened intently, while my spirit-self cautioned me about my unrealistic desires and facts of life that I hadn't accepted—these are my achilles heel. I took a deep breathe and said, “Okay...alright, it's done.” I picked an upbeat playlist, cranked up the volume and shook off the limp, and declared I will find my family, my Camino Family.