Borders and Discipline

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June 20, 2022, Fredericton- The Senior Agent, at the border crossing in Jackman, Maine, had a few questions of his own for me, after the line inspector was finished-as much because things were quiet there, as because my itinerary seemed a bit unusual. It’s always an eyebrow raiser, when a traveler is entering a country primarily to save time and distance, before leaving again-albeit for a week or so. After asking his questions, and getting satisfactory answers, followed by a physical inspection of my vehicle, he sent me on my way, with wishes for a safe journey.

I learned long ago to not be ruffled by official queries, as I have nothing to be ruffled about. In a world of smugglers, grifters and flat-out liars, the well-being of people within a country depends on those who staff its borders. When I reached my second border crossing of the day, at St. Croix, New Brunswick, I was asked to complete an acccesscan application. That being done, in about thirty minutes, I was likewise sent on my way. The officials were congenial, while determined to help guard their country from as much of COVID as they could.

A disciplined person should not have to fear the law-though unfortunately many people of colour, however well-disciplined, still have to. That significant fact aside, the majority of peace officers, including those on the borders, do a fine job-and the time some of us must spend waiting for them to do their work properly is a relative trifle, compared to the time that would be wasted, in the event of chaos.

The drive out of Montreal was fairly smooth. Traffic was not bad, save for some slowing along Quebec’s many road and bridge repair projects. I passed by a few spots in the Eastern Townships (originally a largely English-speaking part of Quebec, lying between the St. Lawrence River and the United States border, and now pretty much evenly-divided between Francophones and Anglophones). There is Lac Boivin, which I will hopefully visit some day. There is cheerful Sherbrooke and the town with the ominous name of Magog. There is Lac-Megantic, which I visited several years ago, and which endured a deadly runaway train accident, in 2013. My main goal, however, was to return to the U.S., cross Maine and get to this capital city of New Brunswick. Even with the above-mentioned events, this happened.

The interior of Maine was the scene of some of the harder periods of my life, in the mid-to-late 1970s. I was a somewhat brasher, cruder person then, and there were few people who saw through that exterior. So, I crossed the state on Highway 6, through Piscataquis and northern Penobscot Counties, stopping only to get gas in the town of Greenville, dinner outside Howland and for this scene of Moosehead Lake.

There are many miles to go yet, but I am almost halfway through this journey.

“Why Are You Here?”

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June 9, 2022- The security official was asking this question, that was legitimate to his job, as I entered the Border Station, in Sidney, BC, seven years ago. He added an odd second question to the “purpose of travel” query: “Why would someone from Arizona be on the West Coast?” My answer to both was “Visiting Victoria”, which was indeed the purpose of my short stay-as there was a First Nations Festival that day, and I was prompted to go there for that.

This comes to mind because, in setting the course of my upcoming cross-continental journey, I have been asked “Why are you coming HERE?”, with regard to a couple of places. Truth be known, I can’t always articulate, in tangible terms, why I follow spirit prompts. Often, it is not clear even to me, until I arrive in a place. I understand that not everyone is that in touch with inner vision or spirit guides- so many dear souls have all they can do to make sense of their physical reality. No one is under any obligation to greet me, and I think no less of them if they don’t-it just means that the time is not right.

Conversely, though, there is enough restriction put on us, for various reasons. We need not place additional shackles on one another. So, I will only ask, if I call on people and the time is not right-leave it at that and do what you need to do for self and loved ones. I will do better at sharing my inner promptings, than perhaps has been done in the past, so maybe these journeys will be better understood, but I will not ignore them.

With that, I will go down to Phoenix, where it is hotter than blazes, this afternoon, to visit Penny’s graveside and join a friend at a coffee house endeavour he is making. Those are my spirit promptings for the day.

When Relics Crumble

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February 16, 2020, Yuma-

Driving down AZ 95, towards this vibrant border city, I passed the remnants-the shell- of a western Arizona mainstay:  Stone Cabin.  It was, I’m told, a favourite stopping place for people traveling between Las Vegas and  Mexico, during the 1950’s, ’60’s and ’70’s.  There was a large gas station and a bustling snack bar, with space for families to get out and stretch their legs, in an area which otherwise had no amenities for travelers.

Today, as I drove past, there was only the shell of the building, with no signage indicating what once was.  I knew what it was, only because of an earlier road mileage sign, on which Stone Cabin was listed.  I could sense happy ghosts, of those who had found respite there, at least during the eight months a year that Stone Cabin’s proprietors kept it open. (There was not as much traffic through the area, during the hottest months of the year:  May-August.)

Many things fall apart, in anyone’s life and in the life of a community, during the course of years, decades and, with respect to the larger social entity-centuries.  I have a certain amount of time left and, while not knowing-or needing to know, how much that is, I will carry on with what I sense is given me to do.

Society does much the same.  Some feel it is a necessary social project, to build barriers:  Walls and fences, which they hope will keep  unsavory intruders from entering the American nation.  I have my doubts, as no wall has thus far accomplished its stated purpose, in perpetuity.  We’ll see.  The project has accomplished a division of people, but across ideological lines.  It won’t physically crumble until long after the generations which have reached adulthood, as of the present day, are gone.  My own hope is that it will generate a meaningful and earnest conversation, between the physically-divided peoples, albeit from a spot where the most fearful people are experiencing a sense of relief.  When unity is realized, the wall’s builders will have unwittingly obviated its purpose.

Relics crumble, even after they have offered a fair number of people a sense of well-being.