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December 2, 2017

The Cruz

By Maryanna Gabriel

"And in the end it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years."
-Abraham Lincoln 

Crosses as one approaches The Cruz
   I had opened the email and then felt the arrow. So many of them I have pulled out in the course of my life and clearly it was no coincidence now, just when I was feeling the most relaxed and confident, that this difficult news from someone dear was given at this juncture. I was about to face The Cruz. As I walked towards it I followed a barbed wire fence. For more than a kilometer, walkers had placed sticks in the shapes of crosses along it's length. 

     The Cruz de Ferro, or The Iron Cross is a very big, Camino deal. People bring stones to leave at the base of it. The stones
Hill Of Forgivenes - Cruz De Ferro

represent burdens, prayers, hopes, and dreams of pilgrims. It is this place on the Camino where pebbles and rocks have been piled up over the centuries and I had been doing a great deal of preparation for the experience. It is the "Hill of Forgiveness". I had thought I was ready. This last test was taking my breath away. I closed my eyes sensing the energy of the place. It was enormous. It felt like a vortex and one zealously guarded. It is one of the most sacred places on the route and I could sense the palpating energy of it.  

     I was surprised by how high the stones were piled. A woman was weeping deep shoulder-shaking sobs at the base of the cross. I backed off from all of the people and made for the shelter on the outer edge. I knew what I had to do for I had thought long and hard and I was ready. I made my own inner offering. Emptied, I turned to go. As I began my descent down the other side I heard from within, "Your phone." My phone. I felt for my money belt
It was later to hear he had a heart attack.
where I kept it. It was not there. Oi. I turned. I returned to where I was and where someone else was now sitting. He picked up my phone and handed it to me. Curious, I thought.

     I walked further and heard helicopters very close. As I moved along I came upon a pair of shoes in the middle of the path. A pack was beside it. As I looked down I saw that the helicopters had landed on the highway below. They were loading a stretcher. As I stood rooted to the spot an ambulance attendant leaped up the hill and removed the shoes and the pack from in front of me. The helicopters took off.

Somberly, I kept on walking.