"I am a pioneer. I like to explore things up front and see if they can work. I like waymarking new trails, and getting lost, and getting found again, and telling people “Hey! Check this out!”
I like busting the sod and building the first cabin in town, but I´m not a settler. Once things get up and running, I tend to lose interest. I find some able hands to keep it going, then I move on to something new.
Or I find some way to renew the old thing. The Ditch Pigs Camino Cleanup, for instance.
This year, if I can raise enough volunteers, I hope to take the Pig Wagon on the road, to clean up a rather considerable mess over west of here. I´m talking a guy named Ze, founder of the Portuguese camino association, (a pioneer), about identifying the worst of the “black spots” along the newly booming Camino Portuguese Interior, rounding up some Portuguese volunteers, and getting Peaceable´s crack team of litter-pickers over there for our usual five days of labor in late November. I am told there´s some hair-raising trash to be cleared! Yippee!
Meantime, in October, I´m invited to speak to the Portuguese Amigos national convention. I am not sure what I will say yet. I don´t know that much about pilgrimage in Portugal. I am about to learn.
In other Peaceable news, we installed two more memorial plaques in the Pilgrim Memorial Grove in Ecce Homo Park, Valdeiglesias. Lion Spijkers, a Dutch pilgrim who died last year in Ribadiso de Baixo, and Charles Merrifield, a Californian who died in 2008 in Villafranca Montes de Oca, now have their memories carved in stone along the Way. We are slowly shifting the memorial stones to a vertical position, as the parks department in Astorga has changed its mind about planting and maintaining our trees! The Denise Theim memorial, however will remain as-is, with its trademark red maple in a central position.
Work is in progress to replace the last of the lumpy mattresses at Albergue Monasterio Santa Cruz in Sahagun. The Marist Brothers who took over running the place this year are fighting hard to get the word out about their unique offerings – they missed the deadlines last year and were not listed in pilgrim guides, and this year´s big dip in pilgrim numbers on the Camino Frances didn´t help much. Still, their project is in The Big Hands.
Like Kim´s new enterprise! Longtime Peaceable supporter Kim Narenkevicius has opened the doors at last at The Stone Boat, a snug and soulful new bed and breakfast in Rabanal del Camino! She is all over the web, and we are working the networks to let everyone know… including you!
I have been a bit distracted this summer with finishing two book projects, and dealing with a family crisis down in Malaga province, an 8-hour drive south of here. But the ancient rhythm rolls on here on the Meseta. Summer went fat and green, then burst open, then turned brown. The rye and barley are cut, the straw baled and stacked into great architectural wonders in the fields, casting black geometric shadows afore and behind as the bright day moves on.
The Semana Cultural and town fiesta were big successes this year, big crowds and plenty to do, no fireworks, and no fights that I´ve heard about. Marivalle, the newest Moratinos resident, stepped up into the leadership role in the Cultural Association and did us all proud. I was a founder of the group, lo those four years ago, and I am Vice President now. I get to throw up lots of ideas, and everyone else can execute them. Or not!
Do let me know if you´d like to be a Portuguese Pig. Or if you´d like to fund one!