I wrote the first part of this post (LIVING (part one)), thinking that I had sufficiently explained how and why ‘living’ is a reason that I am going to walk the Camino this summer. I published the post and then instantly thought, “I would need to write a book to explain the importance of ‘living’ to my journey this summer.”
So this is part two, but I know that nothing I can say here will explain the depth of what it means to me to live.
Lines from a poem by Walt Whitman have been circling in my head. I’m pretty sure I first heard of the poem after watching the movie Dead Poet’s Society (and just mentioning the name of this movie makes me want to drop everything and watch it again, right now).
Oh Me! Oh Life! (Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass)
These lines: “That you are here- that life exists and identity…” These words are simple and gripping. We are here, our lives exist. We exist. And “that the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” A friend wrote this line in my yearbook, on the last day of my senior year of high school. I remember studying those words, feeling their strength and thinking I understood them.
How well do I understand them, even now? That the powerful play goes on? How aware am I that my life exists, that I get to live all of my days, these incredible and heartbreaking and bitter and glorious and fleeting and everlasting and mundane and precious days?
There have been moments- periods- when I’ve felt acutely aware of the value of my life. Of life and of my existence. But there are also so many ordinary days. Days that slip by, days when I think only of the past, or the future. Or when I am simply bogged down in the routines of my days.
Going to Spain to walk the Camino is a response to my existence and to the powerful play of my life. And it’s an attempt, in some way, to contribute a verse. Man, I could write a book about this, too. All I can say and all that I know is that I am in the process of contributing a verse… I’m writing it now, I’m living it now, and will continue to write it and live it.
There are so many different ways to live, ways that feel small and large and powerful and delicate. I feel life today when I look out my window at the falling snow, and as I listen to music that I love, as I drink a mug of milky espresso, as I craft my words into a blog post. It’s the awareness of all of these things that equals living. I could live in any number of ways this summer, but this summer I choose to live on the Camino.