Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Brule , Nebraska

Memories, Memorials

The purpose of early trekking at 3:30 a.m. is to get the mileage in before the sun truly burns in the afternoon. Well, the plan paid off. By noon, I had completed the day’s quota of twenty miles.
Some highlights were the cool air and the cool coyotes. Their yipping and yapping was something to cause me to daydream. I reminisced about early morning singing as is done in our ashrams or temples. I would not say that these wild dogs compensate for my missing the chants by monks, but they did demonstrate togetherness, synergy and a sense of community.
Our gang of three are not totally absent of song and mantras. Daily we sing standard bhajans (devotional songs) in honour of the guru. And in the evening, our hosts, the Rajputs, had us sing for them in their living room at the Lodge American, their motel.
On this Memorial Day, I imagine there would have been music, song, and dance in a more patriotic tone. One van-load of American flags went from business to business, where they were propped up—those Stars and Stripes—as an honoured memory of deceased soldiers.
One of the two men got out and said, “So you made it halfway!(meaning the Lincoln Highway and halfway across America) I read about it in the paper!”
One state trooper parked on a side road as he saw me coming. He opened his trunk and grabbed with a firm grip, two bottles of water, and waited till I actually got to him. “These are for you!”
And I thanked him. I thanked him for checking on my safety. Like everyone else I meet, he received a mantra card.

May the Source be with you!

20 miles

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Paxton, Nebraska


Last afternoon, I completed my walk at a farm where papa, mama, and baby bison were behind a fence on a rural property outside Sutherland.
Our day then began at this spot when Marshall put the high beams on to see our whereabouts. The lights dissolved their shyness and they moved on into the distance.
It was a day for animals—bison, cattle, birds, frogs, peacocks, even a hawk, and a bull snake. The snake was close. He was coming my way and I had to move.
There were party-animals, as well; two young men at 4:30 a.m. who when they spotted us, asked, “What’s goin’ on?” I encouraged Hayagriva and Marshall to chat with them. On the boys’ phones, they could display kirtans, chanting sessions, which the other fellows had never seen before. They were so intrigued with everything Krishna Conscious.
We also met Lawrence F. Wendelin.
“Can I give you a ride?” It turns out that Lawrence is a lay pastor for the Lutheran Church, and he was on his way to Church to deliver a sermon.
“It’s great what you're doing because the world is quite crazy.”
“That’s very obvious,” Wendelin said softly.
I continued to stride along with my heart warmed up from the enthusiasm my two monk assistants were showing, by driving to the nearest town to execute kirtan itself. In the small towns of Sutherland, Paxton and Roscoe, they had never heard kirtan before. Those in the bars and steak-houses were laughing and smiling, and some were bewildered to see the joy exuded by Hayagriva and Marshall.
You can follow Bhaktimarga Swami on twitter @BhaktiMargaSwam (no i).

May the Source be with you!

21 miles


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sutherland, Nebraska

Sour at First

I came upon this sign pegged into the ground by a farmer’s field. It read, “PRAYER is the best way to meet the Lord—but—TRESPASSING on this property is faster.”
The above message may not be the standard of hospitality in the Midwest of the U.S.A., but my small back-up team and I are getting samples of it here and there.
The other day, when I chose to tread the soft and more safe (or what I thought was safe) backroad, and what turned out to be a thru-way for serious ranching, we met up with a similar type of spirit. Two older men in a pickup stopped where Hayagriva and Marshall were parked.
“Having vehicle trouble?”
“No,” explained my two boys, “we’re with that guy. He's a monk just passing through on a U.S. walk.”
“Not anymore, he's not. Pick him up and take him the f___ outa here, before he gets shot!”
Those two neighbourly men then drove up to me and said, “Listen, thieves come here all the time. They come with guns. There’s bullets flyin’ in the air. And you got mean dogs on both sides of the road.” The message was clear—GET OUT!
“I'm just finishing my walk for the day. Thanks for your concern.”
On the other hand, this morning, the greeting by folks of a more temperate kind came through, including the arrival of media news—Tammy’s article on the North Platte Telegraph Front Page, and Kevin’s from the Lexington Clipper Herald, who covered the story of our walk, meant for over-all wellness.
I was also blessed by the presence of two individual cyclists who decided to walk it out with me. So I ended up with an environment of kindness in the end.

May the Source be with you!

20 miles