Chris took all this as a sign and decided he would continue to carry what he dubbed the Holy Ham to the end of the earth where he would give it a proper and fitting conclusion to its life. So on this, the final day of his Camino, he carried the ham everywhere. It held an honoured spot at both the lunch and dinner tables. It accompanied us to the beach where it survived a short and rather unsuccessful game of fetch with a stray dog (the dog didn’t want anything to do with the ham). And yes, it was carried to the most westerly point at Finisterre; a spit of land that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. There it was ceremoniously burned, along with a pair of my socks, Chris’ socks and underwear, and beard clippings from Ralph and Matteo.
I’m struggling to put into words how I felt, being on that jut of land. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims before me had stood in exactly the same spot, giving thanks for their safe arrival and watching the setting sun turn the sky a bright orange. Perhaps it was the imprint of so many people from different eras that made the place feel like it existed outside of time. Had I been there several hundred years earlier I would have believed I had reached the end of the world. The Romans thought that the entrance to Hades was just over the horizon.
It was here on this spot that I got the closure I had missed in Santiago. I am a child of the ocean and so it spoke to me far more profoundly than any cathedral or dead saint ever could. My Camino was over and its ending had been nothing less than perfection. I was ready to go home.