Bridge of Love
Hartland, New Brunswick
I actually walked from just North of Woodstock to Florenceville, via the town of Hartland. Hartland boasts having the longest old time covered bridge in the world with a length of 292 feet spanning over the Saint John River. Tourists are told it's a wishing bridge.
"When you enter the bridge, you make a wish, close your eyes, cross your fingers and hold your breath. Make certain you are not the driver. If you can do this for the entire length of the bridge, your wish is likely to come true." More information tells of how this is also a kissing bridge. The legend goes something like this - there was a great concern and opposition when there were talks about covering the bridge. Sermons were even preached about how a covered bridge would destroy the morals of the young people. In any event, the bridge was covered. The young men trained their horses to stop about half way across the bridge. The horse would wait until the couple shared a couple of kisses, and then it would continue to the other side of the bridge. Today (locals say) couples still go to share a kiss.
I went under the same bridge, not to receive a kiss. I'm a monk. Yet one attractive woman who saw my orange robes came searching for me on that bridge. Actually, she heard about the talk I was giving tonight at the Woodstock River Valley Wellness Center, and she wanted to confirm. I was chanting on my japa meditation beads when she arrived, and interestingly at midway. Of course, it was just a hand shake, and we walked to the bridge's entrance/exit.
At the Wellness Center, Lori, the coordinator said the turnout was phenomenal. To the group I spoke about my walking experiences, and then about Vedic philosophy. It was the reputation I have as a marathon pilgrim walker that allowed me a footing into the place. Had I not done this power walking I may not have had the chance to present some philosophy. The trekking becomes a bridge for me.
At question time I was asked, "Were you ever in love?" I guess people question whether a renunciant is even human. "Yes," I said,"before I was a monk. And I believe I fathered (or mothered) children in previous lives. Now as a monk I perceive everyone as family."
Once the talk and questions were completed, our group chanted. I had no real traditional musical accompaniment, but that was fine. Everyone's beautiful voices, men and women, resounded in the room. All was good. Everyone there was getting closer to love, love for God.