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hawks, herons and peace, musings of a peacewalker

Experiences of a Portland peacewalker on the Hiroshima Flame Interfaith Peace Pilgrimage
I heard about the Hiroshima Flame Interfaith Peace Pilgrimage a few weeks before its scheduled begining in Seattle. Having walked a four day peace walk from Mt Hood to Portland last mother's day in welcome of the Dalai Lama and with the intention of bringing the energy and strength of the Mountain down to the city, I instantly recognized the walk as something very important and powerful. I had the intention of walking the first day and possibly returning to the walk later, but was so overcome with the spirit and the joy and strength of intention, that I remained on the walk for four days.

For me, the goal of a peace walk is on many levels. Firstly, inner peace. For me, this peace comes from living each present moment as full within itself. Each step is a connection to the earth. We feel her under our feet and she feels us. We engage in a very direct way with the elements- the mist, rain, sun and wind. We greet the hawks, herons, redwind blackbirds, kingfishers, crows and seagulls, and feel the same wind that flows under their wings caress us. The horses, sheep, cows, and llamas stand at attention, inquisitive about the humans walking by, our drums beating out the rhythm of our feet and chants. We feel the deaths of the racoons, opposum, cats, and deer ; the cost of our fast convience. As we walk between tall buildings, the sounds of our drums reverberate back to us filling up the spaces with a backbeat.

Cedar trees reach out to us, grass and roots push through the concrete of city streets. The smells of clean cool rivers, pungent dairy barns, and car exhaust intermingle. The sun pushes through the morning mist and creates rainbows arching across the sky, blessing the walkers.

There is a deep peace that comes with interacting with the world in such a direct way through our senses and our spirits.

Another important element of peace is peace amongst individuals. Our group is a very diverse one. And yet bound by a common intention and vision, we feel as one family. Somehow, differences in language, culture, ethnic background, class, geographic origin, become something to be celebrated, the human species in all its diversity. Together we walk, each with our own personal stories and prayers and ways of interacting with the world. Both our uniqueness and our unity are celebrated.

Thirdly is the effect that our group has upon the "outside world" , humans, animals, plants and spirits. We can't directly know our effect. What is behind the blank stare of one motorist? Perhaps the mind and heart are working behind the stare, the blankness only a protection. I know that many of the people we come in contact with has never experienced a group such as us before. I feel strongly that the trees, animals, humans and earth feel our presence. When we radiate out peacefully, this has an effect, although not mathematically calculatable.

I give such thanks for the blessing of the walk. May health and a deep sense of purpose imbue all of my friends on the walk. I look forward to returning and laughing, chanting, and being prayful together.