February

The earth sleeps. 
The sun is eclipsed by its shadow. 
January, which used to loom so large on the calendar, is in its final day. We´ve survived another one! Only 29 days til the end of February, and March is practically Spring. And so we move through winter. 

Compared to planetary movements, my little busy-ness is squat. But I´ll tell you about it anyway. Winter here is not so bad. Fields are green, skies are blue. So different from Ohio and Pennsylvania, where fields are brown and skies are grey for months at a stretch, with ash-blackened snowbanks and 4 p.m. dusk thrown in for added despair. We´ve got nothing to complain about, here in northern Spain. God forbid I appear ungrateful! 

Compared to planetary movements, my little busy-ness is squat. But I´ll tell you about it anyway. 

We push on. A new memorial plaque has arrived for the Pilgrim Memorial Grove, this one for a man who was a friend and co-laborer in the Fields of God and the Camino Chaplaincy. The Rev. Gerard Postlethwaite, a missionary in South America and parish priest in his native England, died suddenly while leading a pilgimage along the Camino Portuguese last September. He was a jolly man with a tragic sense of life, a true pilgrim. I hope someday to see him again. 

I´ll meet with Rennie Archibald, a stalwart volunteer expat who lives in Ponferrada, to set the stone, soon as the weather breaks. We have two more memorials on the line. 

Kim, aka "soulful road," "Alma," and "Salt," is realizing the dream of many years: She´s bought a little bed-and-breakfast inn up in Rabanal del Camino! I will not steal her thunder here, but if you want a snug room, hot shower, vegetarian meal, and caring English-speaking spirits atop that mountain, Kim´s the woman to see! I will post more as the dream unfolds, and will make an occasional appearance there myself, as hospitalera.  

Meantime, back in Moratinos, Daniel of Hostal Moratinos became a dad once again, and finds himself over-subscribed. He´s let his business to an ambitious young couple from Malaga, who hope to offer "something better than the best" to passing pilgs in Moratinos in the season to come. We wish them good fortune... because soon as someone else opens their doors in town, the pressure is off us here at Peaceable! 

*oliver.jpg

Oliver continues here with us, which opens new possibilities. I took a long weekend holiday and flew to Belgium, to visit Filipe and Kathy, to try on splendid fashions at the Jan Welvaert atelier, to eat weird Conceptual Cuisine and visit beautiful old Beguinages... in short, to spend entire days doing  things that have absolutely nothing to do with the Camino de Santiago! How refreshing! 

(I bought a fabulous antelope-skin handbag at Jan´s store. I shouldn´t have, but I love it. Life is good.) 

My friend and longtime literary collaborator Mitch Weiss is fighting hard against throat cancer, spending every minute at his mom´s bedside as she fades away, inscribing her story of immigration, heartbreak, betrayal, and vindication. Mitch is an investigative reporter for the Associated Press. If you are American you´ve doubtless seen his work -- he won a Pulitzer Prize a few years ago, when we worked together at the Toledo Blade. I´ve sinced helped him write four books and a screenplay, but his one´s a real cracker. Pray together with me that Mitch survives, and thrives, and makes this his masterpiece. It´s got all the makings of a Great American Tale. 

The architects sent me their drawings for the new hospitalero hut at San Anton, and we hashed out where to put the place, and now we just gotta wait and see if the money arrives. I trust that San Anton, and maybe James, and perhaps even my patrons Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Benedict, are all calling in a few favors with the Eternal Treasury ...

January´s been taken up with writing up grant proposals for a couple of possible projects. I am happy to say both were sent-in on time, with all the t´s crossed and i´s duly dotted.  I thought about relaxing for a little while, but then the lads from FICS got on their Whatssup app and started trying to hash out a date for our next board meeting... Jeeez! If you ever want to get something done, go look for the people who are already scheduled up to their eyes! I think I am busy... these people put me in the shade. Some of them play bagpipes, and run hostels, and are raising small children. Some of them hold down full-time jobs! Just imagine! 

The architects sent me their drawings for the new hospitalero hut at San Anton, and we hashed out where to put the place, and now we just gotta wait and see if the money arrives. I trust that San Anton, and maybe James, and perhaps even my patrons Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Benedict, are all calling in a few favors with the Eternal Treasury, just to get PP off to a healthy start. 

Or just to get the hospis at San Anton into better-than third-world sleeping quarters. They are saints, after all. Let´s see what they can come up with... 

(Oh, and Jan Welvaert, the fashion designer from Ghent in Belgium, also happens to be a noted garden designer! ... We may see him soon at the memorial grove in Valdeviejas!)  

  The earth sleeps, sure. But we don´t gotta.