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Left: Ben Beckley. Right: Ben Beckley as Ned in Small Mouth Sounds, Photo by T. Charles Erickson[/caption]
Ben Beckley, a member of the cast of Small Mouth Sounds
, spends a lot of time thinking about the search for stillness and peace, for the things in the world that aren’t constantly going up and down.
A few years back he and his wife walked 500 miles along the Camino de Santiago, located in the northern part of Spain. This has been a historic pilgrimage route since the Middle Ages, traditionally ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of St. James the Apostle. To this day hundreds of thousands of people on spiritual quests travel the route. “It was a pretty amazing experience. It’s pretty powerful to get outside who you are and your surroundings and what you are used to,” he said.
He and his wife didn’t speak any Spanish and only spoke “really bad tourist French,” but that didn’t prevent them from making friends along the road. He spent a memorable evening sitting with a group of Italians, watching ducks. The language barrier didn’t prevent them from becoming close friends.
A project of this kind forces one to consider what is important and what is necessary. “I guess I learned that the things I want, that I pursue in my career and in my relationships are important, but that they don’t define me. (I learned that) maybe there is something, a part of me, that’s still. That’s quiet or motionless. Or peaceful. It’s hard to hang onto that,” Beckley said.