a bird perched in a tree

The only thing I like better than observing tradition is creating a new one. For the past several years I’ve spent New Year’s Eve in my long-forgotten hometown of Kansas City, though there hasn’t been much of a traditional observance to speak of. This, that and the other.  A meal here, a drink there.  This …

ver-mont

  A green mountain? Mountains (as opposed to hills) should be craggy and inhospitable.  Towering, looming, leering.  A reminder of the limitations of humanity’s ability to exercise its dominion over the natural landscape. Do not enter without  training, equipment, an acknowledgment of your own mortality and epic hubris.   Vermont, according to a recent Gallup …

What have I been up to these weeks?

  I went to an Irish play in Salem and a St. Louis play in Cambridge. I met a French pasta maker. I got a new job acquiring food, art, and lifestyle books for these guys. I celebrated Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras by eating paczki. I watched the most-watched streaming series House of Cards. I researched …

new year’s one way ticket

A one-way Greyhound bus ticket to Clinton, Missouri, is not the most auspicious sign of a prosperous new year. As part of my journey through home-free(-less)ness, to celebrate the new year, I returned to the darkest parts of my past – dysfunctional family meals and rural Missouri. If the past few years of my life have …

why I take the train

When people ask why I take the train from Boston to Kansas City, I usually reply, “Because it’s eight times as long and twice as expensive as flying.”  I’ve always been more of an economic contrarian than fiscal conservative. I also like the sense a long train ride gives for the distance travelled (this country …

Day 27: Arzua – Santiago de Compostela

The day we’ve been working so hard for has arrived.  This day will be the one when we arrive in Santiago, receive our Compostela, and cease our daily walking.  In that, it is bittersweet. For me, the impulse to walk the Camino de Santiago was never really about seeing Santiago or earning a Compostela.  I …

Day 26: Palas del Rei – Arzua

36k The penultimate day and I literally have no recollection of that day’s walk. Towards the end there was a Chinese guy who had decided on a whim to walk the last 100k to Santiago.  His shoes were falling apart, his pack was heavy, and his spirits were high.  At least I wasn’t that unprepared. …

Day 25: Ferreiros – Palas del Rei

36 k Ironically, as the individual days become more important, they start to blend together. The newness of new new sights and relations at each bend in the road, fades into the monotony of passing kilometers.  I suspect we do this in life too: stop seeing the new and inspirational all around as we set …

Day 24: Triacestela – Ferreiros

37.8 k Since I made it up to O Cebreiro with virtually no difficulty, I was feeling optimistic about keeping to schedule and making my return flight. I’ll confess here that I systematically lied throughout my journey about the timing of my departure.  I was careful never to divulge an exact date, saying things like …