When I arrived at the albergue in Najera this afternoon, the hospitalero (host) asked me where I had come from. It took me a few seconds to remember that I had walked 16.5 kilometers from Navarrete, a small village in the wine making region La Rioja. Even though each day I record my starting and ending points and kilometers traveled in a black-bound notebook, even though when I leave a village I pause to note my location, somehow all that gets lost while putting one foot in front of the other under the vast, layered Spanish sky.
Each day erases the previous one. This experience is not unique to me; I´ve spoken to other Pilgrims who have trouble keeping track of where they have been. I´ve completed but a fraction of the distance I plan to travel, yet already the beginning of this trip seems like it took place years ago, and my life before the trip decades ago.
While this erasure is disorienting, and disconcerting, it´s also the promise of the Camino, to clean the slate and start again. Perhaps living in the moment means forgetting not only where one slept the night before, but also many other things as well. I can´t even imagine what I will feel like at the end, but I also don´t plan to spend too much time thinking about it. It will be a surprise.