Saturday, 28 February 2009

Next morning saw me off early as usual. Out through the streets of Logrono and into a long linear park. It was here that I realized for the first time that I am a slow walker. Everyone seemed to go past me. It did not worry me too much I had already learnt that at the end of the day most pilgrims had walked a shorter distance that I had. I was happy to let the hares get ahead. I sat on a bench that was beside the path and eat a breakfast of bread and cheese as the sun came up. Then it was away to new adventures. The park continued for some distance. Eventually I came to a large lake that formed the main feature of this country amenity. I think that it must have taken about 3/4 of an hour to walk to the top gate on the other side of the lake. As I came closer, I saw that a man had set up a stall on one of the picnic tables. As I am very English, my first reaction was to wonder what he was selling. And whatever it was I was not buying. Fortunately he was talking to another man. I sidled pass him. I did not escape, for at that moment, the other person moved off. The man at the bench called to me. 'Can I give you a drink'. I was drawn in, but I still doubted his motives. 'Or perhaps a sello'. I gave in and accepted his stamp. He then offed me, bottled water, a new stick, an apple, all of which I declined. I did not want to pay. In desperation he finally said 'then let me give you this'. He placed into my hand a hazel nut. Wished me Bon Camino and I went on. From his sello I now know he is called Marcelino Lobato. As I walked away I became a little ashamed of my reactions and suspicious thoughts. he was giving without any thought of return to the pilgrims that passed him. Some time later an another context, I was relating this story to a group of priests. One of them said that it reminded him of the gift that God gave Lady Julian of Norwich. God said to Julian 'I want to give you a little thing' placing a hazel nut into her hand. Julian asked 'what is this little thing'. ' It is', said God 'the whole world'. I have often thought about this event and my nut. Marcelino was giving me his whole world. To a stranger, because I was a pilgrim and I might have a need. What do I do in this world that is so loving to anyone, let alone strangers?

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