SHANNON REED PORTRAIT

A New Chapter

Shannon Reed

Last week, I returned home from a five-day writing and meditation retreat at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes. I didn't yet know my reason for going when I registered back in June, but I had a strong feeling that the purpose for my going would evidence itself in the days or weeks following the retreat.

Actually, I think it happened the second day I was there.  A few of us in the program were sitting around during lunch and the topic of the Camino de Santiago came up.  Three guys in our group of 13 had done it and, as they were sharing bits of their experiences with us, I knew that it was something I was going to do.

When I was younger, I did all the things that people who live here in Colorado do - hiking, camping, rafting - lots of things that ended in "ing" which required the wearing of ugly shoes. By my early 20s, I'd pretty much stopped it all to have babies, work, go to school - I also became obsessed with wearing high heels so the "ing" things had fallen completely off my radar. 

Two other things happened within a day or so of my leaving for the retreat which, I believe, were integral to opening my mind back up toward the "ing" things, so it was hard to ignore the internal jolt when the subject of the Camino came up.

It's a funny thing how something can take ahold of you and sweep you up into it so swiftly; it's almost all I can think about. They say the Camino starts wherever you are and, for me, it started last week right here at home. I'm not planning to leave for the 35-40 day long trek until spring time, but there's much to do to prepare between now and then - including some other walks, I hope - so I'll write about my experiences here for my own memories as well as for anyone else who might be thinking of joining the pilgrimage.