We walk through Almendralejo on our way back to the Via de la Plata.
We see a poster for the circus. It will come to Almendralejo.
She makes the tigers obey her commands. Men are attracted to her. Can she tame them?
We walk past the bull ring. Women are attracted to the matador. They secretly hope for brave sons.
I read Chapter 38 of the Tao te Ching (translated by Steven Mitchell):
“The Master doesn’t try to be powerful;
thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power.”
We reach the Via de la Plata, our pilgrim path. This is the ancient Roman Road, built 2000 years ago.
“In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creatures flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
“When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.”
“The Master views the parts with compassion,
because he understands the whole.
His constant practice is humility.”
“He doesn’t glitter like a jewel
but lets himself be shaped by the Tao,
as rugged and common as stone.
thus he never has enough.
The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.”
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.”
We meet a Irish guy who works in Canada. Like us, he has previously completed the French Camino. Unlike us, he walks many kilometers every day.
“The kind man does something,
yet something remains undone.
The just man does something,
and leaves many things to be done.
The moral man does something,
and when no one responds
he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.”
“When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the husk of true faith,
the beginning of chaos.”
We catch our first glimpse of Torremejia, a town of about 2000 people. We look forward to arriving.
“The land of our dreams,” I say to Karen.
“There it is — Torremejia,” she says.
After a few more miles of walking, we arrive.
We have arrived early. We wait in the bar of the Hotel Milenia for our room to be made ready. It is Sunday morning. One man has a beer; the other has a lemon liquor (We see people drinking early in the morning in every cafe). They talk with the girl behind the bar.
“Therefore the Master concerns himself
with the depths and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.
He has no will of his own.
He dwells in reality,
and lets all illusions go.”
View from our room.