Day 2: Arantzazu to Araia
Distance: 17.7 kilometers
You were told that in terms of difficulty, it would be a moderate walk. But that you could handle it despite the 17.7-kilometer distance. And besides, the Aizkorri-Artz Natural Park is beautiful!
Questions arise: will you make it? More importantly, will you make it in one piece? With all bones and dignity intact? It is a moment of self-doubt that you shrug off. You tell yourself it’s going to be easy. Sisiw lang ‘yan.
Then off you go.
But sometimes, descriptions are not as precise as you’d want them to be and you find yourself walking uphill and downhill, tilting sideways to the left and to the right. At some point of your ascent, you become so out of breath you’re afraid your lungs might burst out of your chest.
Yet you trudge up, carefully navigating the hollowed pathways carved onto the ground by the footsteps of pilgrims who went before you. You tread the rocky mountainside, mindful of how a careless step may cause you to fall.
Along the way you hear a cacophony of sounds: the excited chirping of birds perhaps performing their mating rituals, the gurgling of a nearby brook, the clanging of cow bells attached to the necks of magnificent mountain horses.
Then you catch a whiff of something: the smell of damp earth beneath your feet, of fresh cow and sheep dung, of rotting leaves.
You realize that you can smell the very essence of Earth as it lives and thrives and creates life.
Despite all your doubts, you reach the peak. You marvel at the gloriousness of nature that surrounds you and accept, without a doubt, that only the greatest of forces has created all this. You are reminded of how tiny, no—how infinitesimal—you are compared to the Magnificence before you.
And two things become clear:
First, that you are of this earth and someday, you will be the ground that others will walk upon.
And second, in the Camino Ignaciano, you will feel God’s embrace.
This post is part of my Notes on the Camino Ignaciano series made possible by:
To know more about the Camino Ignaciano, visit Marly Camino here.