Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
Cool Mississippi Folk
“There aren’t too many monks around here,” remarked the officer. I was really enjoying the route along the east/west flow of the Mississippi, on Concord St., and then on Hwy 22, headed for the town of Muscatine, where I met the police officer. To my left, the muddy waters would carry massive barges of cargo. It is a river that has perhaps as much folklore and social value in America as the Ganges has been to India. The only feature about the Ganges that distinguishes it from other rivers, is the spiritual power attached to its name.
In any event, people along the Mississippi have been real “cool,” including the police. There have been so many ride offers. I have to decline, of course. People give me water. This compensates for the loss of it, by way of my sweat.
It’s humid, but over-cast.
Young fellows ask about life as a monk. A woman asks for a picture of me, which she wants to send on the internet. There are also questions, “Where did you start? Why the walking?” No challenges! Just interested people asking questions. Perhaps the most intriguing interaction was with someone named Johnny.
I met Johnny at the side of the river. He had parked there overnight, tucked amidst the trees and onto the sand. He has his life’s belongings in his car. It was a rough night with strong wind gusts, thunder, lightning, and heavy rain; enough to make a sheep rather restless.
I take it that he’s about 40. He’s from one of the Carolinas and is trying to get to Colorado to start up an existence again. He’s super friendly, but kind of lost. I shared with him the maha (great) mantra. It was his first time meeting a monk.
May the Source be with you!