Trekking poles. Check.
Little collection of “things” like socks and leukotape piling up that I’ll take with me to Spain this fall. Check.
Yes, that’s right… this fall. My plans were to go to Spain this May, as in next month, and walk the 500-mile pilgrimage called the Camino del Norte (there are many routes to Santiago, Spain – this one follows the northern coast of Spain from Irun to Santiago). But plans have changed and instead, I’ll be heading to Spain in September.
Plans have changed. Boy howdy, have they ever!
Teensy bit of background here: I’ve wanted to walk this pilgrimage for years but “things” have kept me here in the States. Late last summer, those “things” changed when my traveling girlie, Dinah Dog, passed out of her physical body and left me unattached to anything that would keep me here on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Last year after Dinah Dog died, I started making plans to go to Spain in the spring of 2014, like April, May, or June – I was going to go by myself because no one else I knew was interested, and/or they thought I was crazy to want to walk 500 miles, and/or they wanted to walk the more crowded Camino Frances, and/or they didn’t have the time/money/interest in taking 5 weeks off to go on a walk. Then, at the beginning of March of this year, Janice, a friend of mine who lives in British Columbia, expressed an interest in going with me. She’s had some physical challenges over the past couple of years, including a broken leg, and she thought that planning a trip like this might help her, as she said in her own words: “Maybe if I set it as a goal, it would kick start my leg.”
We began to explore what it would be like for the two of us to do this pilgrimage together, both of us being independent spirits with timelines and interests of our own, and we decided it would be a workable thing for us to do. We continued to chat and plan and talk about this trip to Spain – and then we both ordered our boots at about the same time. That meant we were really going to do this thing! I went for the ones with a turquoise trim and she went for the lime green. We were set to go now! The trip was ON, baby!
She messaged me one day with this comment: “Some people are laughing at me while others are sending me info! Lol!” I asked her who was laughing at her and she said, “Some of the people who see my condition at the moment! Then they say well go big or go home. They know me!” Yep. That was Janice. Go big or go home. We just kept right on with our plans, talking about backpack sizes and what kind of socks we were going to wear. And laughing about wheelchairs on the Camino! Laughing because she thought she might have to do her camino in a wheelchair and we both thought laughing was a good thing to do when faced with something that looks like an insurmountable obstacle. (Did you know that 66 people “walked” one of the Caminos and received a compostela in Santiago in their wheelchairs last year?)
Well, then at the end of March, I had to let her know that, due to some things happening on my end, I needed to change my start-date to September. I hated to disappoint her but her response was just like everything else she did: she said this gave her more time to prepare for the trip. So we continued to plot and plan for the fall; I sent her my list of favorite books and she ordered some others to add to her growing collection, calling it “research.” She said she’d let me know which books were her favorites after she read them. In between our Camino talk, she’d send me little pictures she thought would brighten by day, or a quote she found that made her think of me. I suspect I was not the only friend she did this for… she was just that way.
Her physical birthday was April 12th, and on that day, she changed her name to Sparkling Joy, complete with a renaming ceremony and everything! Janice, uh, Sparkling Joy always knew how to brighten up a space, no matter where she went! And joy? Well, why wasn’t that her middle name already? Sparkling Joy was such a perfect fit for her! Like a no-brainer, if you ask me.
Last Wednesday, she sent me this pic she had found on Facebook of a trailer like mine that had some artwork on the side; isn’t it awesome? I loved it! My trailer would look so fine with this on the sides! (I don’t know who to credit for the photo; if you own it, please let me know so I can give you proper credit!)
And then, two days later, Sparkling Joy left her physical body and returned to the spirit world; so the plans have changed again and instead of her body in a wheelchair, she’ll be going with me in true Sparkling Joy spirit!
I will miss your smiling face, Sparkling Joy. I’ll miss the positive, up-beat happiness that you brought with you everywhere you went. I’ll miss our conversations, those revealing dialogs that always seemed to step below the surface of what was apparent. And perhaps more than anything, I’ll miss laughing with you.
Sparkling Joy, even though you won’t be with me in the physical, your spirit will walk every mile of the Camino with me, my friend. Thank you for your friendship, your smiles, your joy, your constant non-stop enthusiasm for life on this Planet. You rock, my friend!
I now wear my boots in honor of your sparkling spirit. Rock on, Sparkling Joy!