Peace Walk Planning Meeting - Commitment, Joy & Love
I drove north three hours yesterday to Hancock, Maine, with John Morris, for the upcoming Maine Peace Walk planning meeting. The October 11-26 walk will begin at the Penobscot Nation and end at the Kittery Naval Submarine yard in southern Maine. We'll have to do some shuttling during the walk - actual walking distance will be about the same as last year - just over 175 miles.
Our theme this year will be Stop the War$ on Mother Earth. In our statement about the walk we say:
We come together out of our deep concern about the many different wars being waged on Mother Earth, ranging from over-fishing, deforestation, and human-caused extinctions, to climate disruption and endless war.
Close to home we support the Penobscot Nation’s struggle for Justice for the River, opposition to the East/West Corridor, and conversion of war production to alternative energy at Maine shipyards. We know from past experience of walking through rural and urban Maine that many people will be reached with our messages. We hope this spiritual act of walking and sharing conversation and food will help people in our state feel less isolated and despairing about the future.
We met yesterday at the home of artist Russell Wray who creates fantastic sculpture. (He created the dolphin Maka we carried on our walk van last year and the amazing banner that hung on the side of the van.) His gallery inside the house is full of the most incredible work - all centered around nature. His web site is here
Our planning meeting began with a delicious pot luck lunch and we had a great time going through the whole walk schedule dividing up responsibilities. A good peace walk needs a strong core of people and I'd say that this 2016 walk will have about the strongest core of folks I've ever had the pleasure to work with. They are serious, spiritually based, totally committed to preserving Mother Earth, clear about what walks can and can't do, and people who enjoy each others company. No big egos are involved - only a commitment to get the work done.
We've signed up more than 20 groups around Maine and Massachusetts as walk co-sponsors which is an all-time high for a walk here in our state. The outreach has already been beyond anything we've ever done before. And everyone is excited and humbled by the Penobscot Nation offering to host our first night supper and ceremony on Indian Island. This will ensure that we begin this walk with a clarity about the spirit we carry with each step we take. Buddhist monks and nuns from the Nipponzan Myohoji order will again lead our walk.
There is alot of tragedy and sadness in our collective work these days. But the meeting yesterday reminded me of the joy and love that also comes with this work when you surround yourself with people of good heart.
Our next planning meeting will be held on Saturday, August 20 at the Lincolnville Beach park (on US Hwy 1) from noon to 3:00 pm. All are welcome to join us. We'll begin with a pot luck lunch.