Leonard Cohen’s music was a theme of my Vía de la Plata pilgrimage. It started a few days in, when I saw a bird sitting on a barbed wire fence and Like a Bird on a Wire started to play in my head.
Anthem was another song that often ran through my head when I was feeling discouraged—and one I heard at the bar in Alberguería. It has possibly the best chorus ever:
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
And then there was Hallelujah. I heard it in a grocery store in Mérida, and it made that gloomy day a little brighter. I had a wonderful time in Alberguería because I stuck around to hear Hallelujah, and couldn’t seem to leave. I heard it again in Santiago, played by protesters in the Praza de Obradoiro.
… [R]egardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say “Hallelujah! Blessed is the name.” And you can’t reconcile it in any other way except in that position of total surrender, total affirmation.
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