Like most public places in the United States these days, all the employees of the Museum have to wear the official photo I.D hanging from a lanyard round our necks.
Lanyards are commonly used to display badges for identification, where security is required. They are usually made of fabric with a clip attached to the end and the person’s name and photo facing the front.
The fabric on my lanyard is wide enough for a collection of little pins. I have the flag from my two previous countries (given to me by tourists), one from the Red Cross: “It’s my first time“, and one that says, Lucky Duck.
When I walked along the Camino I bought myself two pins. One with a yellow arrow, and one with the yellow arrow, shell and peregrina in the photo on the right ➔. While the yellow arrow sits exactly where I placed it, I’ve never been permitted to wear the latter one, it always falls off. Actually it doesn’t just fall off, I usually see it being pushed off. One time I watched it sail in front of me as I walked across the courtyard at the Museum.
None of the other pins – I have about ten – have ever flown off like that.
I haven’t worn it for about a month. The last time it flew off in the car (where it’s flown off more than once), I managed to catch the pin, but couldn’t find a backing piece until a few days ago. I put it back yesterday, making sure I’d pressed the backing on firmly, but after lunch when I noticed it wasn’t there I found both pieces in the side pocket of my bag where I store the lanyard.
It took me a while, but I finally understand – and even the most skeptical person will have to acknowledge – there’s nothing wrong with the pin or the backing, someone from the other side is trying to tell me something, and though I can’t hear the message I assume that it’s something to do with the Camino, and the only way to get my attention is to remove that Camino button.
I feel deaf and blind. I wish I could hear, and understand the message.
Am I being reminded how much I accomplished by walking? How I loved the freedom? How beautiful it was? I’ll never forget any of it.
Or perhaps I’m being told I don’t need to stand behind a cash register, I can be free here too?
Or perhaps …
I feel their frustration… And mine.
I wasn’t going to share this, but I have in the hope that one of you can help me work out the message.