Saturday, June 23, 2007


Arriving was magnificent, but it was strange, strange. There are no trumpets, no giant signs, no streamers or confetti. No finish line ribbon to break through. No nothing really.

I simply walked alongside a church, still confused whether I was in the right place, and through a tunnel as a street musician bagpiper played. I went down a little alley and around a corner. Then I saw a big church and a big plaza. It wasn´t like arriving (as I did one year ago yesterday) at Machu Picchu with the sun rising over the breathtaking ruins. It wasn´t the most beautiful cathedral I have ever seen. It´s rather mossy and kind of squarish. If I had arrived on a train or a plane or a bus, I wouldn´t have looked at it very hard at all. I would have been just like the other people walking around, going about their days.

But I wasn´t like the others. I looked up, up at the cathedral. But mostly I looked at the sky, awestruck. The moment was echoing and private.

And that was the end. And I distantly heard the German pilgrim near me say, "This is it? and I said, "Yes. This is it." And there were so many, many ways to interpret the exchange and all of them were true.

I stretched out on the ground and stared some more and cried some and then, slowly, I realized there were other pilgrims around. They were easy to pick out, just as they, we have been all along. They were dirty and observant and confused. They were sprawled inappropriately around the plaza. And we were all just looking up and staring, mesmerized. We talked a little. I had never seen or talked with them before. It didn´t matter. They were the exact right people to share the moment.

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