An entry which is neither quick nor final
Today is August 20th-- more than two weeks since I awkwardly taped my boots to the outside of my backpack in front of a line of impatient Madrid travelers using borrowed packing tape-- two weeks since my departure, and longer still since I assured Annie in Santiago that I would post 'quick final blog.' My delay is without doubt, due in part to my penchant for procrastination. Yet the real problem lies superficially at least, in the realm of semantics.
"Final," to me, is a formidable word. It demands wisdom, perspective, and most of all, it calls for knowing. My trip and my reflections have without doubt brought me modicums of each, yet I can't seem to get myself to issue any final report. If I understand anything about my experience, it is that it was and is one of dynamic and un-ending learning, rather than static knowing. Today I feel as though I am only partially through the learning of my journey, and in this light, I have decided to share a journal entry of mine from midway through the Camino.
With this entry I had planned on creating a cumulative list of things learned, one which I could constantly add to as I saw and understood more about my companions. For many reasons, most trivial, I never continued the list, and today I am left instead with just one set of observations… a foundation put in place for future learning too dynamic and complex to put concisely on a list. The content of this entry still resonates strongly with me to be sure, and its focus on learning is one which I hold more than ever today. Yet most importantly, it strikes me with a sense of incompletion... its observations seem too neat, too simple, too final to be the whole and complete picture, a sense exacerbated in me with a glance at the date of the entry. Ironically, it seems my list’s reach toward finality and complete understanding proved to be the most blatant indicator of its nascence and incompletion.
This exhibition is not one meant engender condescension towards a younger, less-learned past, nor is it aimed to scoff at or devalue observations from a time of ‘not knowing.’ Rather, for me it serves as a celebration of the purity and truth in unfinished learning, and as a reminder that ‘knowing’ is the mark of a stagnant search--an indication that simplifications and modifications have been adopted to make an infinitely dynamic experience conducive to the sorting, indexing, and categorization the human brain depends upon to construct its neat world of generalizations.
So, without further adieu, I give you the truest account I can of the learning I derived from my closest companions on my journey…an incomplete one…
“Wed, July 12
Carrion de los Condes
Paul – Paul has taught me of resilience. Of unfettered spirit and eagerness.
Ti-Yanna – Ti has taught me of fiery strength and of resolute self.
Ryan – Ryan has taught me of quiet wisdom and of profound creative talent.
Caryn – Caryn has taught me of unassuming athleticism and of indiscerning kindness.
Perry – Perry has taught me of unhindered spirit of adventure and of confident independence.
Kate – Kate has taught me of honest, open self-reflection, and of uncompromising acceptance.
Casey – Casey has taught me about the joy of singing, and of radiant kindness.
Allie – Allie has taught me of humble talent and that a smile can outperform 100 years of diplomacy.
Annie & Andy – Annie and Andy have taught me of Zen and the Art of Undergrad Group Leadership.
Holly – Holly has taught me of uncomplaining resolve, and about the zing of a wit so precise and quick you almost didn’t catch it.
Chun Yi – Chun has taught me of easygoing companionship and of disarming confidence.”
Thanks for everything my friends. I may never know what you’ve given me, but I’ll never stop learning about it.