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January 5th was a gloomy day. It is hard to be motivated to do anything in the flat short days after Christmas and New Year. I really was trying to persuade myself that I would go for the first walk in the park that would mark the beginning of the preparation for my next Camino. No use! Everything served as an excuse not to go out. Suddenly in the tree outside my window I noticed a fat robin. What really raised my spirits was the sight of his mate.

And there she is!

I don’t know why or how I decided who was he…and who was she….but somehow I did. I love robins for their confidence in human beings, for their beautiful fluting song in spring, for their quick run along the ground. These seemed very big to me and for a few moments I had my doubts but when one finally flew off and darted along a bare patch of grass close to a neighboring building he confirmed that he was indeed a robin. Some of these birds migrate but if there are enough berries around, some will stay, particularly in well-wooded areas. My “new” condo is close to one of the biggest parks in Montreal and this year, my neighbors tell me, for the first time wild turkeys appeared in the fall. If it’s good enough for turkeys, I guess robins can survive too.

It was such a hopeful thing to see that I finally pulled on my boots and made it to another park that was the site of my training for my last Camino, the Frances. That took place in September and October of 2021 and, like many, I became a Camino junkie. I watch lots of You Tube posts about the other routes. I was almost decided on the Portugese which is mainly costal and a lot flatter than the Camino Frances. However, I recently stumbled (sorry) on information about the LePuy route that is completely in France. It was developed by the French Hikers’ Association and so avoids all big towns. In the beginning it too is hilly and challenging but what appeals to me is the path through tiny medieval villages and the open wild feel of it.

Well, whichever one I choose, I will need to get moving again and say bye bye to the few pounds I picked up over the holidays. Back to the track I go and thanks to my red-breasted friends I did get motivated and did a measly five laps around the track. I could not climb up the toboggan hill as it was full of kids on their new sleds. No need to get bowled over, after all!

Thank you, robins. I looked up their symbolic meaning too and I am quite happy to adopt them as my “spirit animal”. Now, if only I could sing as well as they do. Another thing to work on in 2022. Happy New Year all of you.