Through thick mist and fog, we came to Finisterre, the most western point of Europe; deep blasts of foghorn which warned seafarers of the Costa da Morte shook our chests and echoed through the dense soup of moisture all around us. Far below, the Atlantic searched its way through jagged rocks and licked at the slope of the old world. Night or day, we couldn’t tell through the fog, truly we were staring into nothingness, occasionally lit by the passing of the lighthouse’s majestic beam.
Two short but powerful horn blasts would follow a 40 second pause, allowing us time to descend to the water below in echoed resonance. Attention! The sounds said. They were precise warnings of the storied cliffs known by men of Columbus’s fraternity.
Quickly and carefully we scooped up the fabled water and ceremoniously bathed ourselves on the rocks. This bathing for a millennium has laid clean the tired souls of lonely pilgrims. Shortly after the bath, pilgrims burned their traveling garb and watched the sunset on the distant horizon. The next morning they would awake a new person… full of the light of life and the Lord.
As we walked away from the lighthouse, I sensed that perhaps something small had changed in my world. Is something finished?
I’ve been forced to answer many times the “reasons” for which I ran with the bulls, walked the Camino, moved to London, learned French, etc. Usually I shrug, give some nonchalant answer which signals to the interrogator my intents have all been without reason and full of stubborn poetry and romantic innovation… saying, “why not?” or “I want to live” or “I value my youth very highly” or “I want to test myself” or “I can’t stand to be boring” or “I want my grandchildren to hear good stories” or something else witty and inarguable. All these reasons are true. But like a multiple choice exam, there is always a best answer.
My best guess is the most uninspiring… “why not?”
When you know it is possible to do these things, why would you choose not to try? I was asked if I was afraid to die or be hurt… and I honestly can say yes, I was afraid; but was I afraid to try living? I’m not… never will be… never want to be. In fact, I’d be disappointed in myself if I had not lived a life full of risk, challenge, adventurizing, laughter, gusto and luminance.
My light is on,
look and you will see.
Don’t ask yourself how to be like me.
Be yourself, find your switch,
set yourself all kinds of free.
Signing off… Dale