Friday, July 16, 2010

The Trip West, part the first

All right, this is more of a diary entry than a blog article, but I just don't know where else to put it!

As you may have noticed, my family and I are moving west, from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Victoria, British Colulmbia, in Canada, and it has been a beautiful drive so far. After packing the house and loading the truck, we finally set off yesterday morning. Before we left, I said a prayer and then we hit the road.

On the way out of town we did a couple of errands, like returning the post office box keys to the post office (which gave us another teary eyed goodbye as I said farewell to the ladies there). Then the very last stop was to see if my friend Cathy was at her bookstore, Globosapiens. She was. She had just returned from Africa the day before, and we were both very pleasanly surprised to be able to hug each other one last time.

Then we began the drive in earnest.

As we were leaving town we noticed a young man hitchhiking. He was well dressed and had a sign that said "West". We wanted to pick him up, but just didn't have the room in the car. Marielle felt bad about that, so she closed her eyes and started praying for him. She asked that he be guided, and that people who were good would be able to pick him up and help him out. She also wanted him to meet people who were like-minded to him so that he would have an enjoyable time.

I thought that was a very sweet prayer.

Two hours later we got to Brandon, MB, which, if you only stay on the highway, looks like a two light town. There at the first light was a young man hitchhiking: the same young man. Somehow he had gotten a ride and passed us on the road. When I pointed this out to Marielle, she asked me to turn around and pick him up. She said it was providential.

Who am I to argue?

Well, the young man's name was Shaylor, and he was from Halifax. With a bit of creative rearranging in the trunk, we were able to fit his bag in the car, under Shoghi's feet, which was also providential as it gave him a much-needed foot rest. It also gave him someone in the backseat to keep him company.

Needless to say, Shaylor was awesome. He is an aspiring writer (fantasy and science fiction, if you can believe that) and a delightful conversationalist. He is also very interested in hearing about other people's views of spirituality. He said that he was never given any religious training as a child, and had grown up thinking that religion was stupid. Later on he realized how narrow-minded that view was and decided to listen to what others believed. He said that he had come to realize that most people's practice of religion was stupid, but that this should not reflect badly on the faith itself.

As we were driving west with Shaylor, we stopped in Souris, MB to see the swinging bridge. Here, I want it to be known that this bridge is misnamed. It is not a swinging bridge. It is a bouncing bridge. Tons of fun, but it does not swing. Thank you.

We also went to the little museum situated on one side of the bridge and had the dubious joy of seeing over 5000 mounted butterflies. While some of them were astonishing in their beauty, I found it disturbing to see some displays of 50 or 100 of exactly the same type. Why? Why did someone who is not studying the diversity within a single species find it necessary to kill that many of the same type? Was it some twisted form of greed? I'll never know. But it was fascinating to see some other butterflies with clear wings. That was just cool.

Oh, and Shoghi really liked the walkingstick insects. He thought those were neat.

That night, as we got into Regina, Marielle fell ill. We quickly pulled into a hotel, and that is where Shaylor left us. We got Marielle upstairs where she almost passed out. She said that she was very nauseous and only needed to "use the facilities" and then sleep.

Shoghi and I, wanting to give her the time to heal, went swimming and then headed out for pizza. As we drove to the pizza place, we passed Shaylor hoping for another ride.

The next morning, meaning this morning, Marielle was feeling much better. As we headed west again, I was saying a short prayer for our trip, and for Shaylor. No more than 30 seconds later we pulled over and picked him up again.

I can't go into too much detail about today, for I am up way too late and need to get some sleep before heading into Banff tomorrow. Oh, can anyone explain to me how something spelled B-A-N-F-F can be pronounced "Bamf"? I mean, really. There is no "m" in it anywhere! How can it be pronounced like Nightcrawler's sound effect (semi-obscure X-Men comic reference here)?

We told many stories to each other, Shaylor and our family. We spoke of how the friends in the Arctic have a different way of mapping their world, how people mine pot ash, migratory birds, and Tahirih.

Oh, he loved the story of Tahirih and her explanation of Adam, and the poem Adam's Wish. It is so worth knowing these sorts of stories. They so captivate the heart, mind and soul, but not necessarily in that order.

For now, it is late and there is a beautiful mountain towering outside calling for my attention before I say my prayers for the evening.

Tomorrow we head into Banff and see our dear friends, the Nasseri's. Oh, there is another interesting story. Azin and Shelly and the kids are heading off to China on the 25th, but before they leave Canada, they decided to take a train trip around the west. By pure accident, we discovered that we would both be in Banff on Saturday, so we are hoping to hook up for lunch. God willing, it will work out.

It will be good to see them one last time, for they are very dear friends and we will miss them terribly. Actually, we'll be pretty good at missing them.

Azin and I go back many years. I recall one evening when we were at the Winnipeg Baha'i Centre and one of the lovely elders in the community, Mrs Hakimi (whose husband was a pall bearer for the wife of the Master), saw us talking. She came up to us and said how happy she was to see "two lions of the faith" talking. I laughed and said, "Yes, Azin is a lion because of his knowledge and wisdom, while I am a lion because of my hair."

I really hope to see them tomorrow for lunch.

If not, maybe we'll run into Shaylor again. Who knows?


  1. Did you get my previous message?
    Just wanted to say I enjoyed this post and hope you are all enjoying the drive. Please pass hi's to Azin and Shelley from us if you get this message before seeing them.

    Hope Marielle is feeling better. Enjoy Bamff! LOL


  2. Thank you for sharing this day with me, Mead. You are leaves in the wind of the higher Will. I think you will see Shaylor again. If you do meet the Nasseris please give them our love. So glad Marielle is feeling better and you are enjoying Nightcrawler's Disappearing Sound Effect.