Thursday, July 21, 2016

Learning as We Walk, Growing up from Assisi to Spetto

For the last couple of summers, we’ve walked the Camino de Santiago through Spain. Other years, we’ve hiked through Joshua Tree or the Appalachian Trail. Each trail offers its lessons. This year, we decided to try out the Italian trail from Assisi to Rome, dubbed the trail of St Frances, the ecological, nature loving saint. His followers wear cool robes and tend to be pretty friendly.
So we made our way to Assisi. And it us away. The walk through the little medieval town was splendid.
But when we got out of the old town, I said to everyone, “Leaving Assisi is not easy.”
That was an understatement. It would be a 900 m walk up a mountain. The trail looked almost directly up through the woods. But we were fresh and we were able.
“I don’t want to do this thing anymore,” number two kvetched.
Exhaustion is just part of the road. And it certainly was for us. Number two eventually walked through her exhaustion.
“I love how at first you don’t think you can do it and then you are able to do it on the road. You have to work through so many feelings walking.” And that’s what number two did. We all would.
The trail lacks the amenities of the Camino in Spain, where you find cafes and bars every few K. Here I only saw one from Assisi to Spetto. The walk would take us up and out of Assisi, up a mountain and back down to Spetto. Over 1000 m down, through ankle turning terrain. Half of voyage was through that.
I ran out of water and started getting really tired walking down, eventually stumbling, falling on my arm and hyper extending it. We were that close to the accident which would have ended the trip, but I was ok. Everyone was ok and we walked and walked. I thought about St Frances and contemplating the needs of others, as opposed to ourselves. I thought about books I am writing, this blog, last years’ journey full of amici. This year its quieter. But amazing and beautiful. I thought about the kids literally growing up on these hikes from Joshua Tree to the Montauk Mountain House, from the Camino to the Way of St Frances. We all walk through history and growing, challenging ourselves and reaching out limits and grow as we walk. The trail humbles us and reminds us what we can do.
Its not easy to know where the way leads. So we walk. We got to Spetto and the sun shone on this lovely little town where we swam and ate pasta and lived to enjoy another day, appreciating what we had. Tomorrow we walk again. Here are some shots from the journey.

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