I am gobsmacked by the physical beauty of the walk on the Camino. We are traveling through varied landscapes of woods, farms, villages and towns. The forests of oak, chestnut, pine and eucalyptus trees are thick with ferns and wild raspberries. Aspen leaves make their music in the breeze. Bird song fills the air - doves and sparrows and swifts. The farms are lush with corn and grass fields and potato gardens. Kitchen gardens are planted with lettuce, broccoli, onions, chard, peppers, and Brussels sprouts. Hydrangeas, daisies, roses, geraniums and hollyhocks spill over lawns and out of fences. Entryways and outside tables are shaded with grape vines. We step around the dropped fruit from apple, peach, fig, pear and cherry trees. Queen Anne's lace, yarrow, foxglove, mint, clover, dandelions, buttercups, thistle and stinging nettle crowd the ditches and fences separating the road and fields. There are so many other flowers I am not able to identify - little white ones, tiny blue ones, more purple and pink ones. (All that hay and those wildflowers - we are sneezing and rubbing our eyes.)
The Camino winds from forest paths to country lanes to the driveways separating farmhouses from their barns. The unexpected intimacy has surprised me - we are so close to open windows, we could reach through. There are chickens, sheep, dogs and cats and the Galician long horned cattle as well as the barnyard smells that let you know the animals are there before you see them. We can hear the crunch of a cow eating the raspberries along the fence. As we reach a village, the path is lined with hedgerows of anise, loropetalum, and boxwood. (Hedgerows! I have walked out of a painting into a Jane Austen novel.)
Stacked stone walls are covered in thick moss. Stone houses and barns are roofed with slate or red tile, some of it covered in the same moss. And the views! From the top of the hills, we can look back on all of it, the villages, farms, pastures, fields and forests. The rain and fog we walked through on Tuesday had its own magical, mystical beauty. Today's cloudless blue sky frames the pink and ochre houses.
We read Psalm 96 today - "Let the fields be joyful and all that is therein. Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy." Pretty perfect!