This man walks his dog every day religiously. I've seen him at his daily regimen for about twenty-five years. Occasionally we stop and chat. He's in his sixties and expressed mechanical issues with his body. Each time we talk I learn more about him. I was delighted to hear he's a big time artist.
"I was with a community of forty artists. The camaraderie was quite phenomenal. That closeness of communication terminated in the late eighties. The computer came and everyone became alienated. The good company was over."
Being at that age it is common to gripe about things, to ponder on the times you were comfortable.
We spoke about the golden years or what we knew of that twenty year time frame from past was from 1945 to 1965. "dad worked and provided for everything. The mortgage was easy to pay off. Mom looked after our personal needs. You had a brother, a sister, a dog, a cat and a car."
"Unions were strong then," said my friend whose name I haven't yet got to know.
We talked on. He wanted to know about my passions for walking: "What's your purpose for the cross nation walks?" he never bothered to ask before.
"I walk to create a spiritually friendly environment, to encourage people to consider the spiritual side of life." I didn't express fully the words I wanted to. I would like to say, "To create a sankirtan friendly environment." (Sankirtan meaning a spiritual synergy particularly to do with chanting)
Essentially the idea is to let the public see a monk (the more monks, the merrier) and to then strike a curiosity which is innate in all of us. Spirituality is a human right.
Our last piece of conversation entailed my friend recently being visited by a follower of Jehovah who was sold out on the end-of-the-world doomsday scenario. We both agreed that it's not just religious zealots that prescribe to Chicken Little theories. Y2K was a corporate ploy that wreaked of the same deceptive odour.
"It's a great way to make money," said my friend chuckling as we parted ways.