At the End of the Trail
Crawford Lake, Ontario
Liberian born, Jaya Keshava, the two Penn State boys, Goura and Nitai, and I sat in the middle of an Iroquois longhouse. It was a reconstructed model of one that stood on that very spot six hundred years ago. Three families used to live here in a domicile made primarily of cedar wood and bark.
Longhouses were smartly built by the indigenous people with a high ceiling for so many good reasons such as seeing that smoke from fire that would rise to cure food stocks and keep bugs away. Longhouses were roomy, cool in summer and warm in winter. Furs were sprawled out on the benches where members slept. For music, drums, and pipes were used. Corn was the staple diet. Men spent more time outside to hunt. These people were named “Huron” by the French, a somewhat derogatory term meaning “peasant”.
Our interpreter told us what she could. She made the point how the garlic-mustard plant is a hazard and currently invaded the forest around. Jaya Keshava, who considers himself a life long brahmachari, looked at me after I suggested that it might be nice to go back to a life like this when things were ultra simple. “How about a place like this for a monastery?” He smiled.
All four of us were indeed transported back to hundreds of years ago as we were taken by the rustic charm of the place. All sounded good except the meat part.
We were shown how to start a fire by striking flint and letting the spark light the fluff of a milk weed pod.
We dreamed on and then exited the longhouse only to enter into a lush green forest of the Niagara escarpment. I told the boys that I need to walk a trail each day otherwise I can’t sleep at night. We thrust forward taking in the smells, colours and textures that are so much meant for the human experience.
I spoke to a group in Brampton about service in love as opposed to service in duty prior to coming to this piece of heaven. Our day was near perfect. As we came to the end of the trail, a sizeable turtle slothfully moved under water just near us at the shore of Crawford Lake. He was reminding us of the gracefulness that once was. His ancient limbs told all about how we should stride in life - slowly but surely. He was like a guru teaching us something that practically goes against the grain of this Kali Yuga, the age of darkness.