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
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.
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
Looking back at the boys of summer
I am one
We…were, the boys of summer
One surfer looks back at me, and waves
And I him
I had…many many joys those few tens of minutes
Instead of counting them
I lived them
I could not help but to live
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
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 was young once
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!