Finding the inner kindness to listen to your body with compassion.
Hontanas was the first place I spent the night in the very distinctive region called the Meseta. The trail runs through the Meseta for about a week and a half’s worth of walking. The Meseta is known to be dry, hot, treeless and very flat. The towns are very compact in this area and sit like islands in the midst of golden heat. Of all the geography that the pilgrim encounters on the trail, this one is the most talked about. People note its intensity. Most have a strong reaction to the empty vastness one way or another. For some, it clears the mind. For others, it is endless tracks of the same as far as the eye can see. Hontanas was a town in the middle of the Meseta. For miles all that could be seen of the tiny hamlet was a church spire that looked as if it were a few feet off the ground. The land was like being at sea, grass waving and the clouds reaching right to the edge of the Earth. As I got closer to the town, the houses and old streets came into view down in a little valley, tucked against the edges of the only hollow for miles. This sweet and mellow town seemed unperturbed by the constant change in weather that brought blazing sun one minute and then torrential rain the next.
When I stopped in Hontanas, it was clear that the pain my ankles had finally caught up with me. I arrived at midday and wanted to press on, but my body said no. I had to trust this wisdom. In return, I had a very precious talk with a woman in the albergue and met up with my new American friends again. Let me tell you, listening to my body was not an easy task, but just as Hontanas was cradled by the Earth, this point on the trail compelled me to cradle myself. The restorative work I did that night was essential for all that would come for me in the following days.
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