You know when you know? Yes you do. You know what I’m talking about. We’re writers. We percolate. A writer can sit still for a week and be working as hard as anyone out there. Because we write from that vast landscape of the mind. We see moving pictures float past us at a hundred thousand miles a minute. We are always working. Like sloths, though, you sometimes can’t see the progress right away. But we move.
I know it’s time to write. The kettle is about to whistle. The pressure is building to a crescendo and the release valve needs to be…well, released.
I just got back from walking the Camino de Santiago (THE WAY OF ST. JAMES) in Spain. With a small leap of faith, I walked out onto the vast rooftop of the cathedral and and I sighed. I’m not sure, but the sigh may have been heard around the world. Like a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan to create a tsunami in Mexico, my sigh gently pushed its way out to the ocean and carried itself on a wave to lap against the shore on the Atlantic coast of Canada.
Yeah. I’m a romantic. It’s true.
As I stood up on the rooftop of that cathedral, I was certain that I was at the top of the world. And I was also certain that the top of the world was wherever you wanted it to be. It’s not a place on the map that needs to live by the laws of physics and altitudes and logic. The top of the world is a feeling. And I found it on my journey.
I walked through villages, cities, forests, fields, vineyards, mountains, rain and snow. I jumped barefoot into mud puddles and streams. I balanced, like a child, on ancient walls and sidewalk curbs. I walked with strangers and people who would become anything but strangers. I walked with Germans and Asians and French and Dutch and Americans and Canadians and Hungarians and Africans and Mexicans and Colombians and Irishmen and Peruvians and Scotsmen and Englishmen. I walked with the world. And I walked with no one. And I walked with ghosts and goats and cows and bulls and dogs and horses.
At the end of my journey–like Dorothy–I woke up. And in the magical city of Oz…er…Santiago, I found all the people I had shared my dream with. In a city I had never been in, I walked around and saw a thousand faces I already knew. Jean-Claude from France–the man I couldn’t look at without bursting into tears. He was there, too. Smiling and embracing every pilgrim he met along his own journey. And Jean-Claude held court with many people of many nations. He will be carried to many corners of our globe. Jean-Claude will never be forgotten. And he is just one of the peregrinos I encountered.
I discovered that the top of the world–like Kansas–was there all along. Perception is the only thing that needs to change in order for one to be there. You can walk hundreds of kilometers to get to a sacred land of emeralds and gold and gild-edged beauty. Sure…you can do that. And you can have the time of your life doing it, too. But in order to get home…in order to get to your bliss…you need only click your heels together. You need only open your eyes to it.
I have a story in my belly. Like the magical mystical ladies of Casa Verde, who could pour shots like nobody’s business, I am ready to shout. I will write about the Camino. I know I will. One can’t not.