It was a long drive to Arizona from San Carlos. Someone must have tipped off the Mexican cops, or maybe we just happened across the guys who have been out in the desert for too long to have heard that bin Laden and his Golden Retriever weren’t driving around disguised as me and the Kahoo any more. The army and the cops each stopped us once, once to search the car, the next time just to run me through the computer while they went over some other guy’s engine with a fine toothed comb and had him stand there sandwiched between them and their machine guns. It was all very pleasant. They shook my hand and called me caballero.
The delays added about an hour and a half. Then another hour waiting to cross the border at Agua Prieta, where Roo made friends with seven or eight of the people trying to make a few pesos by selling sweets or tortillas or panhandling from the cars in line. Several people went over to the passenger side so they could talk to her and pet her. She loved it. She was the Queen of the Customs Conga.
When we got to Douglas, Arizona, and went for a walk, I saw this man. I couldn’t help myself from asking him if he didn't get hassled in Arizona walking around in orange Hare Krishna robes. This is, after all, the state that just passed vile new anti-gay laws, and which have wide support. Arizona is many things. Tolerant isn’t one of them. He told me that he wasn’t Hare Krishna, but a member of the Sivananda order. An uninformed onlooker can be excused the error.
He is Swami Sankarananda, and he is walking all the way across the country, from west coast to east. Real deal walking - not just the pretty parts and catching a ride the rest of the time. The Swami has already walked the 1000 miles from Monterey, CA, much of it through some of the most inhospitable terrain the United States has to offer. He did hitch a ride for about five miles on a stretch where there was no choice but the Interstate, on which the police prefer that monks do not wander. Other than that, the Swami is on the hoof, traveling with a small knapsack and a sleeping bag.
Peace is the purpose of this grueling journey. The Swami is making the greatest exertion he can individually, just to emanate energy in the hope of contributing to peace. This is his facebook page, for anyone who might like to follow his progress or meet him when he passes through your town. You, and your animals, will be glad you did.
Swami Sankarananda is a great lover of all creatures, and Roo, as you can see, loved him right back. I’ve never seen her relax like that with anyone but me. He made me especially glad that the first person we met back in the States was someone campaigning for kindness.
It's easy to be a part of this effort.