These last few hours I’ve been scrolling through hours of digital video I took last month on the Pyrenees portion of the Camino de Santiago, when up mountain paths and through rain-soaked Franco-Spanish villages I accompanied a group of pilgrims on the start of their treks.
As a cameraman I’m a rank beginner. But the wonder that’s appearing before my eyes is that, despite my inexperience, there is such beauty in so many of the shots. Of course it helps that the countryside is so photogenic. But so are the people! Whether it’s the Irish pilgrim with his pipe and kind eyes, or the trio of Canadian women who decided that the Camino would be better than India this time around, or the couple from BC who were walking to celebrate their marriage, the faces tell a story of a deep, vividly-lived humanity. And they also tell the story of a connection that we often forget in our daily routines lived from home to desk to computer to home. There is a kind of joy I’m seeing here. A patience with each other, an interest, and beneath that an openness that must come from the realization that the path is the thing, and that when we walk it we become, despite ourselves, a temporary family. In other words, at least part of that joy is coming from people who are en-joy-ing each other.
It’s a wonder to see again on the video files, and it makes me think again of how we might better find that beauty in each other when we’re “back home”. Because it’s still there, in us all. I’m thankful for what the camera is reminding me of.