A pilgrim’s reminiscence

Pilgrim and Camino Forum member William Garza wrote this poem and posted it to the forum today. It really resonated with me and he has kindly given me permission to reproduce it here. It reminds me of my walk along the Camino del Norte, and the many times I stopped to watch and occasionally film the surfers waiting for the next wave. I hope you enjoy the following words and photos by William Garza as much as I do…

Boys of summer

Did you count your steps to Santiago?

And when did it stop mattering.

I always seem to keep track of whats wrong
What now…
What next…
Ohh no….

I was at the shore Sunday
Large rollers were coming ashore and the hiss and roar and subliminal vibrations were in the cool air.

A shoot had been canceled that day…but…I was at the Beach!
So off I go!!

As I walked up the same pier I had photographed so many times…a little excited thrill went up from my bare sandy feet…bare…i dont usually dare
But it was a beautiful day and I no longer had time for the small things.

The warm concrete vibrated as a wave would impact
The cool easterly sea breeze, the salty tang of the waters.

I was a strong swimmer… I remember
Waves like this were a challenge
But I was young
And full of life’s juices that ebb and flow like the tides.

The Surfers…so full of that unconscious life, merely answering a call…like birds lofting into the wind…because they can…because it is there…because there is something special about today.


Vicariously…I watched and pointed 200 mm lens this way and that

F Stop and ISO
apature and contrast

The breeze ruffled my hair
The small grit under my feet
The waves…hissing and roaring…important!…unto themselves
Important to the surfer
Important to me

Back to the warming sun
Surfers doing surfer things
Me…doing Photographer things

But more than that
The cessation of merely being things.

My back ached from the barefoot standing
I was standing barefoot on a pier…that the last time i had walked on…I was 16 or 17

I transcended my usual shyness at my weight, my limping, lurching walk
My bent at the waist walk

My hands hurt
A fierce burning ache
But they held my camera steady as I willed them to work…my hands, my work…my art

And the surfers rode as the sun goes down
Some smile when they see some feat of surfdom caught, a shout of glee, that inner power transcending time, place and space.


Once again
I am out there among them
Stout of arm, leg and back
Swimming against the current

As I am now
The sun is setting
A sense of urgency
A serious-ness setting in

The sun is going down!
I must use all the light left to live before its gone…they seem to show.

The sun is going down
And I must leave.

I look at the surfers
Some look back at me

But…who will see what we are?
Who we are?
What we have done?

The sun…insistent and inevitable
Casts its golden net afar
I am walking west…toward the shore
Toward…”a”certain reality

Looking back at the boys of summer
I am one
We are
We…were, the boys of summer

One surfer looks back at me, and waves
And I him

We understand

I had…many many joys those few tens of minutes
Instead of counting them
I lived them

I could not help but to live
Life called
I…allowed myself a few moments of joy and peacefull comfort for my soul

Knowing full well the price to be paid.

Tonite…I have counted my joys
There are many others
But they are far simpler

Count your joys
All of them
The one of them

The point is

I made time and room for them
Somewhere inside
The Boys and Girls of summer are calling
I see them
Waving to me as I have to turn and go

For a few moments…
For a few moments
Fall…turned warm again.


The Pilgrim goes I think
And lofts forward because the “winds”
They feel the winds, the solidity
They feel their wings
Testing those wings…and realising
This will carry me

And off you go Pilgrim

It does not matter what the “winds” are
They are there
They will carry you to Santiago

Young or old does not matter
The sap within is running
You feel it
As a flower toward the sun

Or as my surfer story
It is there

The Wave is there
Until it finds you staring at it

You were young once
The vigor and strength of youth recalled as you wonder

Then the call is upon you
Come and visit me Santiago whispers into the winds

The wind finds you wondering
Once upon a…
I remember
I was young once
I could
I did

Dare I do it again??

Wind and wave carry you Pilgrim
The Fey light of days gone by…compared to this?

Shake off the age you feel
Feel the age you were

You feel the winds under you
Those impatient waves march west

Its time to go Pilgrim

Be Blessed on the Way!

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A pilgrim’s reminiscence

  1. Jenny Heesh says:

    Hi Maggie –
    I saw William’s Boys of Summer thread on the Forum this morning and it really resonated with me too.
    When reading his beautiful thoughts I immediately thought of my twin brothers, Phillip and Glen, who have surfed all their lives. They have wonderful families and would be the first to say that they are both so blessed to have their families and to have good health. They are such good men and very loving brothers for each other and for my sister, elder brother and for me. They both have a particular love of the sea and being out in the waves is so important for them – it’s a meditation for them – being in the water – completely immersed in nature.
    I am sending William’s thoughts to them – they will be particularly interested to read his thoughts as they will be making their pilgrimage from St Jean to Santiago in 2019, the year of their 60th birthdays. Their love and respect for the sea, and nature, will be with them on their pilgrimage. they know they’ll love all that they experience on those ancient and magical paths of the Camino. I’m hoping to join them, all being well.
    I haven’t responded to William’s thread yet, but I will within the next day or so, and will give him my thanks. It’s our pilgrim group meeting tonight in the city and I’ll be speaking with other Forum members who go to our meetings about William’s wonderful thread.
    I hope that all is well with you and I send you my best, best wishes –
    Camino hugs – Jenny xo


    • William says:

      .Nazare is not so far and the absolute best of world class wave riders are ther for the 100 foot waves..of which ime sure there are more modest sizes available..
      Turn left and south at Finesterre, lose the packs,lose the years and the worries ..Good Santiago will take care of those for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jenny Heesh says:

        Cheers William – thank you for your wonderful thoughts!
        St James will look after us – this I know for sure. It will be a very special and magical time.
        Best wishes – Jenny


    • magwood says:

      Thanks for that lovely comment Jenny. How wonderful if you can share your brothers’ Camino. What adventures you’ll have. Friendship hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jenny Heesh says:

        Thank you so much Maggie. We’re all so blessed to be able to do the pilgrimage. The time will pass before we know it. Camino hugs as always. xx.


  2. I really loved this. I too once was young and now am old(er) and the Camino is calling.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kathy Bonaccorsi says:

    Where can I find your post regarding walking the Del Norte?
    Thanks, Kathy Bonaccorsi


I would love some feedback - tell me what you think.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.