The Ice and the Sun
Halifax, Nova Scotia
They lay overlapped in cuts like pizza slices all along its edge. They had no topping; thin, snow frosted and ever so fragile pieces of ice lining the East River. By 8:30 Saturday evening I had to excuse myself from the evening's events, being fatigued from a flu. At midnight I was up for a 10 kilometer loop starting from the river. That soothing ice embracing the river bank was a gap of a contrast to the thumping gut music pulsating from the downtown of New Glasgow, across the East River. Like two cultures juxtaposed, nature was soft, cool and sleeping in silence and the other hot, sweaty confused passions of humans.
It was a new day, officially anyway, although dark as I paced along the 10k loop. The rare human encounter was some youth who successfully hid their joints, but not the aroma, upon seeing me.
"How's it going, guys?" I asked
" Oh, pretty good!" ( with a giggle)
The loop was walked and two hours later it was time to retire until the sun came to vanish the frosty slices of ice.
Two neighboring couples came to the home of my host, Dr. Jal. The preparation for an ambitious brunch kept just about everyone occupied until it was time to eat, talk, and then drive to Halifax's yoga center, the Sunday meeting spot for the devotees, yogis, and just about anyone who wanted to experience the beat of a different drum. Today was indeed different.
Struggling with controlling the small fire from altering and setting off the sprinkler system, Manu, the priest set himself up for day two of a rites of passage. This was the first indoor fire ceremony for diksha in Nova Scotia.
Diksha refers to accepting a guru as guide, and the candidate was Stefina, our sixty-five year young lady from Holland. I say "young" because she does have this innocence of a young Alice in Wonderland. She looked vibrant.
Her first mentor, Jaya Kesava, a monk from Liberia, relayed to me that when she met him on the street in Halifax, she dismissed his mission by saying " this bhakti culture is of the heart, I'm of the head." A practicing Buddhist, Stefina made her proclamation but she did come to see the monks for Sunday feast. From then on she kept visiting, and now after two years she is in a new spot. She's born again, in a sense.
Her new name is Savitri Dasi. She will always stand in the sun. Savitri is the name of the sun god's consort.