Serpent River, Ontario
Here you hear the loons crying out. The cedars and the white pines stand out, and wild raspberry bushes are saying, “I’ve got plenty of fruits, take some, they’re free!”
I was always curious about the village of Serpent River, with a population that can’t be too much, and which is a First Nations community of the Obijway race. My heart pined for years to walk through this off the highway grid village. So I left the picnic area where our Krishna Culture tour bus was parked, hoping for some interaction with the locals. To get to the village I went east bound on Canada’s longest road (actually, the world’s longest), the Trans Canada Highway, when a car pulled over. Peter and his partner came out of their car and offered water. Then, entering onto Serpent River Road west, I met an old Husky dog, he’s friendly. He decided to come along by my side for a good long while until he got distracted.
Once having trekked the length of the quaint town, passing by homes, playgrounds, and even their powwow grounds, I dared myself to walk back via the railway track. Surely no one hits this trail, I though. I was wrong. Coming down the tracks with trees to both sides of it, was a young dude on his way to work. He was surprised to see me as well. For him, the track is his daily route. His name is Brad and he’s an Ojibway. I also got to meet Dale and his mother Gloria who are the actual owners of the husky dog, whom I had innocently lured away. While chatting with Dale and Gloria on their veranda, someone called in saying they spotted their dog at a daycare so I was off the hook, and wouldn’t be accused by anyone for losing their pet. In reality we are all lost, lost souls being separated from the Divine.
I spent some time with our youth philosophizing and answering their questions, swimming and practicing for our drama. Then it was time for me to hit the road again. I just hate waiting for everyone to get ready. It was remarkable how motorists responded with generosity by offering water. One woman tossed a bottle over the creek in order for me to catch it. If it wasn’t water, then a donation came to me to get water. The final offer of water came from a car load of young men. They passed by me on the highway and were curious to meet their first monk ever. They pulled over and had questions. “We were just curious why you were walking.”
“To promote pilgrimage, simple living, and to get clean inside.” Somehow they got it. One of the fellows asked, “Is it so that we don’t get too attached to things?” That’s hitting the nail on the head. These young guys who just recently graduated were inquisitive and I was so happy to meet them. “Please correspond with me if you have any questions.” I then left to continue on foot, and they on wheels.