Tario keeps popping into my consciousness.
Maybe because the post never published at the time. Maybe because of all the pilgrims I met, he declined to identify as one. I never discovered whether he had ever walked to Santiago or Rome.
It was walking along the riverside path outside Ribadasella … he called out “Hola, peregrino” from the picnic spot where he was cooking his lunch. Invited me to join him for chicken stew. I declined having just eaten in town (didn't get into the vegetarian question … or where he had found the chicken).
He had no English, so verbal communication was limited by my very basic Spanish. However, we were connecting on a more fundamental level .. . where the language barriers are transcended somehow.
Tario had two little dogs and his stuff in a small trailer, which he pulled by hand. Seemed to sleep out mostly, though was aware of the local albergue where I was headed and looked clean, so perhaps called in for showers and laundry from time to time.
When asked if he was a peregrino or pilgrim, he laughed and said “ no, just a wanderer”. He has been walking about, sleeping out, living free for the last eight years … the eyes showed a contented soul.
Since the next adventure wants to be the Camino del Norte from Irun to Santiago and on to Finisterre, perhaps we will meet again.
I hope so.