The Women and Us
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
The first time I came to this place and heard its name, without seeing the spelling, I wondered what people had against Ganesh, the loveable elephant-god. I heard Anti-Ganesh. And then I wondered how even such a Vedic name entered into such an Anglo-saxon region. I learned that it is the place where tree branches are torn off by bears gathering beech nuts in the native Mikmaq language.
It was in this strictly university town that five of the Haligonian monks came to visit (Haligonian refers to Halifax and that's a nomenclature that also baffles me). We rested ourselves upon rocks edged by a creek and played at our instruments. Students looked over a bridge that arches over the water like a terrace, to see the musical sensation. Some of the students descended to join us including a Catholic priest who is also a student.
Student life can be hectic and generally you see someone under educational duress walking swiftly from one building to another trying to meet the demands of the classroom but here students were taking their time to stop.
Stopping was something we did once more at the rustic home of Mirian and a woman's group. Her home, situated on a 200 acre lot and driveway that is forever, was our venue for the evening. She heard about our mantra meditation presentation and so at last minute she invited her friends to hear us monks sing and speak.
In the beginning the ladies looked at us with curiosity and caution but by the end we were a compatible unit. We had become one in the joy of kirtan.
When it was time to depart one of the women insisted on having her picture taken with the monks. "I need this photo to prove to my friends that I do have some men in my life." To that remark we had a good cackle.