Europe N to S: The Winter Walking War (3/25/17)


Today’s Miles: 13.6
Total Miles: 5,068.5

Triacastela, Spain – March 25, 2017

Peace lasted for an hour in the morning. Maybe because​ we were all too cold. Then war came, Christina and Jorgelina ambushing me from behind as Daya ignored us, obliviously singing as she walked the road ahead. I slung snow back and forth spraying white across the morning sky, snowballs exploded against my backpack, the air filled with shouts, threats, and laughter.

No alliance would survive long though, nor would neutrality. Jorgelina turned on Christina, Christina turned on Jorgelina. We all turned on neutral Daya. Between battles, we’d settle down for a bit, maybe a mile or so, before someone would get bored and reach quietly into a snowbank. In times of tense peace, we’d walk down the road, each of us carrying piles of snow in our hands, deterrents against any misdeeds.

On and on the snowballs flew, mock anger, real laughter with them. Alliances formed and fell, rain jackets and packs transformed into armor and shields, peace treaties were measured in kilometers and broken on tactical bends. Along roads, along trails, outside restaurants, by statues, we fought as others walked around us, blind to the endless fun of a snowball fight.

“What is wrong with them?” we all thought, them at us and us at them.

As the trail began to drop, our arms tired, ice melted down our necks and seeped through the cracks in our clothes, but our smiles remained glowing. With the snow running out, the four of us came together one last time to negotiate a final peace. Underneath the thousands of snowballs there was always love and laughter. We sealed the treaty by sharing​ a bite of snow each.

“Es muy rico,” Jorgelina said.

I nodded. We’d given our words and the peace held. We left the snow behind on the mountain, our inner children happy and content, the day almost over before it felt like we walked a single step.

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