Its the morning of the fifth day - 4:57am my computer tells me. I loaded up some audio last night from some interviews I did on my 3rd day. They were pretty amazing but I screwed up the names (just for posterities sake, I mispelled Saiya's name and said Masaki was Hirosh - shite). I'm the bad journalist. I don't write down last names, only first... because we're all in the same family. |
I'm in the kitchen at the Gentle House on the Western OSU campus in Salem. Shingo and Marjorie are helping to cook breakfast now. Some of the people sleeping on the floor on the other side of the wall are starting to wake up. There's a bit of snoring going on. I've been told that the animal I represent with my snore is an anteater. I've been told Shigeko (Gecko for short) snores like a beautiful dying bird. You tell me.
Yesterday was full of laughing fits with Carrie in amidst the sacredness of our walk - the peace prayer we offer in all the directions. Or was that the day before.... The day before we arrived in Salem... so that means we're not in Salem anymore? OK, its early morning.
I have a half hour before they wake everyone up and start with the Interfaith Morning Prayer. The morning prayers are so beautiful. It starts off with about 10 minutes of Namo Myuho Rengekyo chanting. Marjorie leads us with Om Mane Padme Hum. Tibor's been saying thanks to the creator. Tom grants thanks and reminds us of who's lands we are walking on. Senji then leads us through a variety of Afro-American Spirituals. Yesterday, Smitty followed that by going into "Earth my Home...."
When we arrived in Salem, we were greeted by Mayor Mike Swain. A lot of people have a lot of respect for the man. I couldn't help see that he was a man that despite his work for a better world was still tied into the idea that violence was necessary to mete out justice. The first thing I did for IMC was to go down with some other PDX IMCers to Salem to cover a Peace rally that happened there a couple of months back where Mayor Swain (please forgive me if I've misspelled his name) said that he was with us against a lot of the war but felt that military intervention was needed in Afganistan. I asked him the other day if he had changed his mind.... Its on audio and I'd rather let that speak for itself.
We passed through the Chemawa school on my fourth day (that's right, we spent the night at Salem Y). That was cool. It is currently the oldest Native American school. It started off as a boarding school set up by BIA to help with the "assimilation" of native peoples but over time it became a school to help preserve indigenous culture. They fed us a great lunch and showed us parts of a movie based on Lakota Woman. It was a true warmth and themselves that they showed us. I was able to talk with a few of the students so I'll be posting those audio bits sooner or later.
On our walk that day to Salem, we had a rest in front of a motel... I have the card in one of my many pockets somewhere. The owner of the motel came out and invited us to shower and use the rooms for a bit. The gratitude and warmth that people welcome us is incredible.
I give my many and humble thanks to everything and everyone that makes this possible. The energy that flows through the group and allows us to continue walking is powerful. The 300,000 flame glows strongly while we sleep below it each night as we return it to its true home from where it was taken.
Oh, yeah, Will says hello to Portland and Becky will be going back today. We'll miss her.