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We went for a walk on Sunday.
Or maybe it was a hike. When does a walk stop being a walk and become a hike? Is it the distance? The degree of difficulty? The moment when you suddenly realize one call to Uber could end all this?
Anyhow, we went for a walk on Sunday.
Eight miles, round-trip.
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Our walk took us out to the Presa, due west of San Miguel de Allende. Or, at least what used to be the Presa. Ironically, if that is the right word though I feel no irony whatsoever, we did this exact same walk for the first time exactly one year ago.
We didn’t plan this as an anniversary walk. We just needed the exercise. And to get out of the house.
I guess “coincidentally” is the word I’m looking for.
You see, one year ago, we began training for the Camino de Santiago, which we walked in late September, early October of last year. In Covid time, that is roughly four billion light-years go.
We did indeed walk part of the Camino, from Porto to Santiago. When I think back on it, my fondest memories are bunking down in cramped dormitories, walking side-by-side with strangers, and hugging lots of newly made friends.
All of which is forbidden most everywhere around the world where Covid might be found.
Oh. Yeah. That is everywhere.
Our first big walk of the new season felt a bit different from a year ago.
First off, we were wearing masks. Even in the countryside, for some of the time.
Secondly, there was no uncertainty about the distance. We’ve been down this road a few times in the past year.
Thirdly, instead of a feeling of exploration, it felt more like an escape. Think “Logan’s Run” or “The Running Man” — only with more “Logan’s Walk” and “The Walking Man.” Yes, it felt good to break free of the at-home isolation.
Fourth, and this is a big one, there was almost no Presa. While this is rainy season and the reservoir should be slurping up the water in huge gulping swallows, what was before us looked more like a chirpy meadow from “Heidi” or the “Sound of Music.”
Instead, off in the distance a lone cowboy drove a herd of cattle where ducks and egrets and terns and pelicans and penguins once played and fed.
I’m kidding about the penguins. Just checking to see if you are still with me.
Other than that, little has changed on Camino A San Miguel Viejo, the road to the Presa.
Beautiful people still trot, saunter, and canter around the Otomi equestrian park, sometimes on their horses. The bigger than life mariachi statues still play a silent tune in the open field. Cows, sheep, horses, donkeys and goats still share the abundance of the pasture. Crops are rising in the fields.
Everything is green and beautiful. Watchful campo dogs still check you out , give you the hairy eyeball, then decide you are not worth much of a bark.
And on a Sunday morning, all is reasonably quiet. A good infusion of mental health.
All is at peace.
We embrace the illusion that this extends to the rest of the world and simply enjoy our walk.
There will be more Sunday walks. Maybe even a hike or two. Maybe follow the Laja River up to Atotonilco, as we did last year.
Now, that was a hike.