Bill’s Blog Journal

A New Beginning…

I just completed a “bucket list” hike with my friend Steve. His blog had inspired me, 4 years ago, to hike the Camino de Santiago. Earlier this year I suggested that we hike Mt Washington via the Tuckerman’s Ravine trail and he agreed. The day we chose in mid-September was glorious and we were very grateful. We agreed that it was the most challenging hike we had ever done. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had we encountered some of the severe weather Mt Washington is famous for.

I stayed with Steve & Dianne at a beautiful lakefront house not far from Wolfsboro. They went off to explore town and I elected to stay home in order to gather my thoughts about what lays ahead for my life. Perched on the boat dock in the sun and listening to the sound of the gentle waves just the peaceful setting I need.

I have recently been thinking a lot about doing another Camino, this time from Portugal. The past 18 months have been challenging and frustrating. Not being able to make plans and set goals has led to bouts of depression etc. The Tuckerman’s hike is helping to solidify my thinking. Or perhaps it was wearing my Camino backpack. I will, of course, keep an eye on the Covid situation and hopefully get a booster shot.

I checked my frequent flyer account and discovered I had enough for a free round trip to Lisbon. So I’ve booked flights for 10/10-11/21. My initial plan is hike for 4-5 weeks then find a cheap Airbnb in southern Portugal for a couple of weeks. The latter had been my plan in 2017 at the end of that Camino. However, as many of you know, instead I flew off the the Netherlands following my heart. I will just see where the Camino leads and do my best to remain open ans Say Yes to the Universe.

I will once again get to celebrate my birthday on the Camino. Last time it was the day I reached Crux de Ferro. That evening I stayed at a guest house in the next twin were wonderful couple made dinner for me🙏🎂. Where will i celebrate this time?

I would like to, once again, use my pilgrimage as a vehicle to raise funds for Osteogenesis Imperfecta. I will announce how this will work as soon as I figure it all out. Likely i will set up a link to donate via Facebook. I am very happy to report that my nephews daughter Charlotte is going well due to all the advances which have been made through O/I research. He and Janine are expecting daughter # 3, Helen, about the time I will depart for Portugal.

I am grateful to all my friends and family for their support and am very blessed with the good health to attempt another pilgrimage. 🙏💕🙏👣

Where does joy go?

Does sadness push its way in so slowly we don’t notice until it’s flooded our soul or does joy move away leaving room for the sadness?

I’m not sure I really want an answer. I only know that I miss the joy. Just as it’s arrival took me by surprise it’s absence has left me gasping. Not knowing if is has left forever or temporarily only adds weight to the sadness.

The horizon of the future is shrouded in doubt.

Trusting requires practice & patience…

After the storm..

The weather in advance of the hurricane brought the tropical heat and humidity that makes some people complain about summer in Connecticut. The remnants which visited today were a brief rain shower and bands of high winds. It’s rapid departure left behind much debris, power outages. Generators and chainsaws can be heard throughout the neighborhood. The temperature and humidity have returned to very comfortable levels. However, there is something different in the air. Could it be a harbinger of Fall? Summer has past the halfway mark, the days are getting shorter….

Walking Labyrinths

January 1st 2017 I walked my first labyrinth. My life has had been transformed. As many of you know this began a journey of walking meditations. More than 150 labyrinths plus 1,000 kilometers on the Camino de Santiago have guided me to a loving relationship and to write my first book.

Order here

The timing of its publication is fortunate in that it is providing many people with a wonderful and safe activity. Making short or long road trips to visit the many unique outdoor labyrinths you may discover parts of your home state for the first time. Plus in walking a labyrinth you my discover new parts of yourself.

I look forward to your feedback. And thank you for your support.

Wish you a safe and healthy journey.

Reflections on Social Distancing

It has been more than one week since most of my home state “shut down “. Since then life has taken on a different rhythm which is taking some time to adapt to. Every day feels like the Sunday’s I remember from childhood when almost all businesses closed. (All except the bakery which was a mandatory stop on the way home from church.) It was a quiet day. A day for family, for play, for walks in the woods.

I have begun taking longish, 6-8 mile, walks to exercise my new hip and, perhaps, get in condition for a future Camino. Today the Camino was very much on my mind as I walked. I’ve been reading a new Camino book, Into the Thin”, by Stephen Drew (available this Fall) who’s blog posts in the spring of 2016 were responsible for my discovering and walking across Spain in 2017. Walking through the small towns of northern Spain was also reminiscent of my childhood days. There on Sundays they still close most businesses and you see many families out walking in groups, large and small.

Perhaps others are having similar recalls and also feel pangs of yearning for those simpler times. Is it possible that we may come out of the crisis with a new perspective on what is really important? I pray that it proves to be a time of healing for people’s souls and a brief rest for the tired earth we so take for granted. 

Today’s perfect weather helps me feel hopeful about the future. Spring will come regardless. A time for healing and new growth.

I wish you all good health and a peaceful soul.

Current Chapter- Pain

It all seemed to start last March from mowing the lawn with my large walk behind mower. The effort to turn the beast was damaging my left hip. Gradually the pain increased to the point that I finally visited a doctor. He told me he did not know where the pain was coming from but I should replace the hip since I will need to sooner or later.

Now many months later I’ve been through a few cortisone shots, some PT, a couple of different medications, and the jury is still out. Next step is cortisone in the back. However, they are still guessing.

A few days prior to my scheduled injection I was telling a friend of my dilemma. The only actual problem that has been diagnosed is a labral tear. By the time I finished the history I realized that replacing the hip was the best next step. So I quickly canceled my injection and scheduled the surgery. Additionally, it became clear that my limping is creating collateral damage. My back and knees have been giving me trouble for the first time.

I am very happy that I only have one week to entertain second thoughts not two months. And I’m grateful my brother, Rick, is coming to care for me.

I have been learning many lessons these past months about living with pain. First I realized how very fortunate I’ve been to have had 70 pain free years. I have gained new respect for all those who live with chronic pain, and do it with grace and humor.

So Monday Santa will arrive early with my new hip. Stay tuned..

Merry Christmas to you all. Thank you for your love and support.

Gratefully yours. Bill

Two years later

Sitting in the beach in the dark after a late September swim. Watching the lights on the marker buoys in the distance signaling their position. I am overtaken with sensory recollections of my nights sailing singlehanded. The tranquility mixed with a little uncertainty, and fear brought on by lack of confidence in my navigation.

My thoughts segue to the Camino and navigational doubts. This time I’m on foot following red and white markers on unknown trails and the yellow markers across Spain. Two years ago on this date I walked in to St Jean Pied du Port after a week hiking through the foothills of the Pyrenees. I was beginning to learn trust. The Universe provided me with everything I needed. I was blessed to have people appear just when I needed them. They became my guides and mentors preparing me for the Francais portion of the Camino du Santiago.

The irony of my beach visit is that it is in part therapy for my hip. I have a tear which prevents me from walking the Camino Português this fall. The pendulum of Doubt returns. I question the future rather than trusting the Universe to provide. Will I be able to walk 15 miles, play squash, sail etc?

I know that I have to just do what is in front of me each day and trust the results. Tomorrow a cortisone shot and continuing PT, exercises, etc and trust the outcome. One step at a time as they say…👣

We can only do something for the first time, once!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to the annual Gathering of the American Pilgrims of the Camino in Black Mountain, NC. Interestingly I accompanied, Steve, who I only met after following his blog, during his 2016 Camino, which was responsible for my 2017 Pilgrimage. We are now best of friends.

This was only my second Gathering but I have to note that the YMCA facility hosting this years event, is a huge step up. The location, in the mountains, just outside Asheville is stunning. It was fun to see friends from two years ago and a few from my Camino.

It was interesting to notice a few contrasts between my 1st and the 2nd. I can clearly remember walking into the 2017 Gathering in Atlanta very nervous as I did not know one person, plus this Camino business was a huge departure for me. I had so many questions about food, equipment, blisters….. My main concern was how to survive walking 1000 kilometers without getting hurt or lost.

The most notable change, for me, was a new depth of conversations. Clearly people are changed by Pilgrimage.

My recurring thought was about firsts. Notably that – you can only do something for the first time once. What will my second Camino be like? Will I be able to find the energy and motivation to accomplish all that is necessary to make it a reality?

Many of the presentations made me nostalgic to return. I know I can never go back to that first experience. I will never regain my virginity.

Perhaps my most important lesson from the weekend was the reminder to “say yes to the Universe” and trust that if I find myself led to another Camino, it too will present new joys, pains, people, and lasting memories. It will become my 1st 2nd Camino.

Stay tuned…

Buen Camino 👣