Leaving Verdelha de Baixo, we pass through a place where people urinate and defecate. The Way must travel through urban environments and must often skirt populated places by passing through vegetated places which are on the margins of regular life.
Lao tsu portrays the Taoist Master as having a special, marginal function:
“The master leads
By emptying people’s minds
And filling their cores,
By weakening their ambition
And toughening their resolve.”
We reach a heavily traveled road with narrow shoulder. This is not unusual for the Caminho Portugues. The sun is hot and we walk for mile after mile along the busy highway.
Lao tsu writes:
“The master helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
In those who think that they know.”
Confusion can be a pathway to giving up normal patterns of thinking. Sometimes it is best just to walk, watching what is going on.