In Portomarín, I was unable to sleep. I had visions of artwork I needed to make. When I returned, I followed the instructions I received from the Rio Miño. I took paper and brush to the Salmon Falls river. I put the paper in water, I found some dirt near the rocks. I walked up the bank and found some hay that I brought indoors. The hay, dirt and water mingled while I waited. Corn, plastic. Memories of drenching rain and sleet, treasuring every plastic bag in hopes it would keep ones socks dry, ones belongings inside the pack, everything became wrapped in plastic.
Many days we walked for a significant time on the carreterra or smaller roads. One day on a concrete sidewalk running through the vineyards, another day through woods bordered with blackberry brambles on concrete molded to look like flagstones. These days the feet were severely tested. Climbing a mountain was easier than kilometres of unending hard flatness. The repetition of the foot called blisters to tender spots. The muscles ached. Then the contrast of single file paths through the woods. What a delight for the soul and body. Forests of chestnuts or pines or eucalyptus.
In the high plateau of the Meseta, the earth is flat forever. The sky is so large it consumes ones attention. Cold mornings always. When the sun comes out, it burns and dries the air by noon, other days are bitter rain, drizzle and sleet. Crop burning and the rich odours of burnt grasses magnified by moisture, simultaneously sweet and acrid. Hay piled in skyscraping stacks. Ominous rectangles of straw 20 meters high offering shade from the afternoon sun, barrier from the wind and the rain. Fields of dried sunflowers leaning, still following the sun on their last days.
Descending the mountains into Galicia. Change as bold as a line demarcating fog and fields the new territory. The rocks in the path became white marble, the trees dripping green. Water everywhere but few fountains potable. White school houses with brown naugahyde furniture for housing. Broken kitchens. Outside damp mists and fogs, inside fires beneath one's feet, whispers of 'keep walking' echoing in everyone's heart. Superglued bonds with the other peregrinos as each step brings Santiago to be an immanent reality.