Tuesday, April 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

What do I use to solve mysteries, fact or imagination?

MarionFranckW

By
From page A10 | April 06, 2014 |

It’s rare that something as small as an email will lead me to change my plans, plunk down money and enter a dark movie theatre on a sunny day.

But I did that last Sunday after I got an email from my friend Hieu Dovan recommending a new movie that is briefly at the Varsity Theatre.

“Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” is a documentary about the 500-mile pilgrimage that people have been making on foot in Northern Spain since the 10th century.

Why do people undertake an endurance holiday like this, and what happens to them when they do? This is one of the human mysteries that has grabbed my attention and will not let go.

I’ve never put myself into an endurance situation of such length or difficulty and with a strong possibility of physical pain. But many people, young and old, including runners, bikers, and kayakers, choose this kind of experience. Why?

The new movie offered me a third chance to consider the example of the Camino de Santiago.

My first encounter with the Camino was through a Hollywood film by Emilio Estevez titled “The Way.” It tells the fictional story of a man who takes up the pilgrimage carrying the ashes of his son who perished there in a freak accident.

The father, played by Martin Sheen, puts on his son’s boots and backpack and hikes in his place, finally reaching the famous church at Santiago, along with a colorful set of newly acquired traveling companions.

After I watched the movie, I looked up a lot of details about the Camino, because I wasn’t sure which parts of the movie were “true” and which were not. I’m often frustrated in this way by made-up stories, and I’m always on the lookout for things that strain credibility.

I know, for example, that writers and directors like to add drama. Martin Sheen falls into a river. Does that happen on the Camino? He finds a set of companions that share his hike every day. My friend Hieu told me that groups rarely form in that way because everyone travels at a different pace.

Hieu himself was my second source of data. He hiked the trail in 2012 when he was 63 years old. I asked to meet with him after his trip.

So there he was, an articulate psychologist, sitting right in front of me, with some of his souvenirs spread on the table. He tried to explain the meditative nature of the Camino and what it meant to him. I listened as hard as I could.

But I still didn’t understand. Why did he go? When he injured his Achilles tendon just before the trip, why didn’t that stop him? How did he keep trekking when 27 out of 30 days brought only rain? What was the spiritual component for him? I listened to his explanations but I still didn’t get it.

That’s why I rushed to the new documentary. Surely the director would try to answer the questions that puzzle people like me. She focused on six participants, filming them on the walk, and she interviewed other people, such as local priests and villagers who run shelters for the pilgrims, to shed further light on their stories.

The movie follows one woman with severe physical problems, never quite enumerated, that lead her to walk slowly and painfully.

We also get to know a young couple, thrown together on the trail, who bond despite the woman’s being 10 years older.

We follow a French mom who hikes with her three-year-old son and her brother, of whom she says, “we always fight.”

Many questions come to my mind. Why do the single mom and her brother argue so much? Does the romantic couple stay together? What differentiates the few thousand people who follow the Camino from the millions of us who do not? Does it lie in the spiritual realm? How will I get that question answered?

I know more than I did before. I know why some people go, how they finish and what they learn about foot pain. I have a sense of the camaraderie and group resolve that keeps people going. It took all three perspectives, the Hollywood movie, Hieu’s account and the documentary, to get me this far.

To complete the puzzle I need one more thing: to take the walk myself. But with my famously difficult feet, I don’t plan to do that.

At least I’ve learned something about how I learn. Fictional accounts stimulate my curiosity by creating questions. Nothing draws me in like a movie where I want to know what happens next. Accounts by friends add new dimensions, intimacy and a real attempt to communicate with me. Non-fiction—in this case, a documentary–adds truths I can count on. Not the whole truth, but important tidbits.

These are key ingredients, like flour, butter and sugar in a cake. Put them together and something that mystifies me becomes just a little more clear.

Why some mysteries draw my attention more than others, inspiring column after column, I may never know.

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at [email protected]

Comments

comments

.

News

Yolo Basin Foundation celebrates 25 years

By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Teens embrace public art through Pence Gallery program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Robotics team members reflect on their big win

By Kellen Browning | From Page: A1

 
City’s eco-classes will explore water, wildlife, pests, composting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

Many hands make light work

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Baltimore smolders after violent night

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Davis police make vehicle theft arrest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Corinthian Colleges closes all 28 remaining campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Capay Organic hosts Cinco de Mayo party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Yolo County Bar Association honors Magna Carta, probation chief

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Sierra Club leaders will meet April 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Pedro party, lunch benefit Yolo Hospice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Author — injured arm in sling — will sign her new book

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Chicken manure compost class planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Party celebrates release of Lescroart’s new novel

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Curious about calculus? Try Barcellos’ new book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Master Gardeners teach workshops throughout county

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Faithful Partner Fund established for K-9 officers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Holmes’ Green Team wins state award

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Vacaville contractor convicted of fraud

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Blueberries, apricots arrive at Sutter market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
New UCD art lecture series named for Thiebauds

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Pinball show features lots of free play

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Asian garden open for tours this weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

.

Forum

She knows their business

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Waking up to the awful truth

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
David Brooks: Love and merit

By David Brooks | From Page: A6

Davis’ active transportation plan is right on target

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Dog’s freedom isn’t worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Vaccine bill is vital for our health

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Thanks for camera’s return

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Huge first frame lifts DHS to big baseball win

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Devil girls run it up on Grant

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD golfers move into first at Big West Championship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Another big inning does in Devil softballers

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

 
AAA roundup: Cardinals break out big bats in Davis Little League win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Get a positive vibe Wednesday from Tha Dirt Feelin’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Momentum Dance Company plans spring concert

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Sacramento Youth Symphony holding open auditions

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

 
Winters Theatre Company performs on the Big Day of Giving

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

‘Contempt of Court’ next up at Winters Theatre Company

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
There’s no place like home in DMTC’s ‘Wizard of Oz’

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Have breakfast in Oz on May 16

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Black Sea Hotel to perform in Village Homes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

DMTC’s young performers present a steam-punk ‘Snow White’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7