Muscouche, Prince Edward Island
With the emergence of the sun, the fog gets lifted, opening up to trees like the maple, white pine, ash, oak, white cedar and more. Their limbs are more like arms which offer an outstretched welcome. Through wetlands we see the engineer work of beavers. We see a couple of loons showing off their diving skills. We suck on cattail plants to get some nourishment, and on the trail, there’s lots of coyote droppings and the occasional splatter of blue robins’ eggs.
With me is Nick, a ski instructor and camping sales clerk turned monk. He wanted to give the walk a whirl; he sees the venture as a rare opportunity. When Nick and I came to areas which revealed the open fields, seed potatoes were being readied for planting by local farmers. The soil is red and so are the beaches where two of the coastlines, the north and south, practically meet; we walk through the skinniest section of the island. A cyclist takes interest in Nick and I who sit for a break, enjoying delicious veggie wraps and the making of a friend began. At evening time I head eastbound with Nitai Ram and Karuna Sindhu, two humble, but extraordinary monks who head up the ashram in Nova Scotia. At a village called Murray River lives a couple who have been married for 40 years, congratulations to Gaura Nitai, a Scotsman with a strong accent, and Lal Gopal, born of Cree decent,of Saskatchewan. They are students of Srila Prabhupada like I am. Much to their credit they are leading that very simple self sustaining life that our guru used to speak about. They bake their own bread, make their own soap, grow veggies that supply them from April to November, they herd cows, and are on the verge of making their own clothes from Llama’s hair, which they also herd. Even their toilet produces composting matter for fertilizer. I never thought a toilet could inspire. Their next door neighbours are Buddhist monks from Taiwan. Indeed, since being on the Island I sometimes get mistaken for being a monastic of that order. There’s a lot of similarities. Meat fish and eggs are taboo. When there is some roadkill near their monastery, the monks come out to enact a small ceremony honouring the passing on. But wait a minute! I believe they don’t accept the concept of a soul. What then, reincarnates? I pondered the question and I go to sleep, hoping to see more sights, hear sounds, smell scents and appeal for answers.