|I’m still there… almost nightly…|
I’ve been home from Spain and the Camino long enough that I’m back into my usual schedule – the mail has been tended to, the duffle bag returned to the closet and experiences on the Camino no longer the first thing people ask about when they see me, but my life is not back to where it was pre-Camino.
My dreams still have me on the Camino, where I seemed to have remained, even after getting on an airplane in Madrid to return home. Almost every single night since I’ve been home, I’ve had dreams that I’m still walking – dreams that have me pacing down a long, wide-open stretch with faint views of an ancient city in the background; a view that was quite common on the Camino. Even stranger is that while dreaming, I know that I’m dreaming (lucid dreaming) and try so hard to stay in the dream and in the place, that waking up becomes a fight for me.
Last night seemed to be more vivid than usual. I was walking the same pathway that I seem to be on nightly (seriously, I’m not progressing very far on my “dream Camino”), while at the same time, was very aware that I was in my bedroom in Leawood, Kansas. I remember thinking that if I opened my eyes that it would be very difficult for me to see the Camino and where I was on it because instead of the long winding road to the ancient city on the hill, I had a short walk down a hallway to the kitchen.
This is not the first time I’ve struggled with re-entry and it’s entry into my sleep cycle. After spending a few months in Perú several years ago while volunteering, I would wake up in the middle of the night and sit up in my bed for what seemed like minutes, but more likely was probably seconds, and would have no idea where I was. Because I was there in January, which is summer in Perú, my memories always come into play first with me feeling very hot and sweaty, then all else would follow. More than once, I would find that I had put on a sweater in the middle of the night and had gotten back into bed and tucked myself under the down comforter, far more layers than was necessary, but the end result would be very hot, very sweaty, very familiar. I was recreating my Peruvian slumber right down to the temperature of the room, all while in a dream-like state. It’s very strange where you mind goes and what your body does to follow, to give you comfort, especially in your dreams. My hiking boots are not easily accessed from my bed so I don’t anticipate putting them on at night and hoping back into the bed and back on the Camino, but just in case, the pathway to my closet from my bed is clear and unobstructed.
I’m still holding onto the Camino as best I can, both externally and internally, which doesn’t surprise me, given the powerful journey it was for me, but the dreams have been something I didn’t anticipate. I’m still following a few people who we met on the Camino, all of them walking to the end, and have to wonder what kind of intensity they will feel during their re-entry after spending over a month on the Camino.
I know the frequency of this will most likely start to wane and my sleep cycles will move off of the Camino in Spain and back into my bed in KS, but for now, as frustrating as it is, I’m hoping to have a foot on the Camino as long as I can. Even if it’s in my dreams.