A Bridge, A Park and A Hall
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
Rain forced me under a bridge where you find a convenient foot path. While in a constant pace I spanned the width of the East River repeatedly back and forth keeping perfectly dry under the bridge. There I met Gary, a teenager who took refuge as I did. He had woken up to the sudden rush of rain after a full night's sleep outside next to a nearby park's gazebo.
I was curious to know if he was homeless or not.
"No, I live in a house," he said as he plucked meticulously at the mattress stuffing that clung to his clothes.
I introduced myself to him as a monk travelling the country. I offered him a mantra card explaining that one who chants this mantra can achieve inner peace. He really appreciated it and said, "I'm putting it in my pocket so it will keep dry." He said he had to get ready for school and was off but with a smile.
Our outside venue for chanting today was at King's Square, the uptown park in Saint John, New Brunswick. People and pigeons populate this little green haven. We arrived at 3 pm, just in time to experience the convergence of students from two secondary schools in the vicinity. Finally our indoor venue was a church hall off of Adelaide St. A good figure of eighty people or so, came to hear katha, a talk about Krishna Consciousness. We were excited to see some of the people we met at King's Square come to the hall to be with us for the second time in one day.
To our delight new immigrants from Bhutan turned up. As genuine refugees to a tough government under Buddhist domination these folks recently arrived from Nepal to a situation of new opportunity. And now that they have also begun chanting we anticipate that they will take it up on a regular basis.
At the end of the day when I lay down to rest I thought again of Gary from the morning and I hoped that Gary would have a decent mattress, without holes to sleep on.