Last night I had a dream about climbing a snow-covered hill on the Camino. I could see a group ahead of me, Christina and some other familiar faces among them, all cresting the hill and out of sight. It wasn’t snowing, but there were at least six inches of thick wet slush on the trail, weighing down each step. Suddenly, a strong wind lifted me off my feet and carried me, not unlike a bird caught in a crosswind, off the trail and into an adjoining field. I saw my fellow pilgrims getting further and further away, continuing on as I stood far from the path. Just up the hill from my landing place, was the extension of a long, endless cafe. The building began at the crest of the mountain, back on the Camino itself, but stretched out all the way to my part of the field, like a long one-floor corridor with old dusty windows and wood-framed doors.
When I walked up to see inside, rows and rows of unused, antique cafe chairs and tables lined the corridor, clearly untouched for years. It had a spooky, forgotten quality, and I worried in the dream that I might see something unexpected in the shadows of the dream cafe. But suddenly, in the distance back by the trail, I saw the cafe’s lights begin to flicker on, showing signs of life for the first time in what was clearly a long time.
As quickly as the first gust came along, another gust of wind lifted me back to the Camino and I enthusiastically began to climb to the snowy hill to catch up with my fellow pilgrims. The incline became so steep that I began digging my hands into the snow, pulling myself up the hill. But I wasn’t angry or afraid at this point, just fighting through the all-too-familiar exhaustion faced at the end of each Camino day.