Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Out of the Wild, Into Missoula

We're in Missoula, Montana now.  Our tribe of five walked into Missoula on July 24th.

Darby to Hamilton

Last I blogged, our tribe of six was getting ready to walk out of Darby.
Several miles out of Darby, a 60-something fellow we had met at the LDS Church there the Sunday before, named Phil, saw us resting at the side of the road and stopped to load us up with fresh water and some scrumptious cinnamon coffee-cake he had made himself.  It was timed perfectly, as most of us had run out of water.  Phil hung out and chatted with us a while, and even prayed for us before he continued his drive to Hamilton.  He said he admired our faith walk, and called Jesus a rebel, against the current of conventional society.  We also admired his sincere kindness and unique character and unabashed faith.

In our walk through Hamilton we indulged on a plethora of cast-away food there.  It was not only like this there, but all along our entire route.  In Hamilton, we stopped at the public library to use the computers and hang out.  It turned out there was to be a show for children on the library grounds, but some performers didn't show up.  So Mika stepped in to fill in for them, doing some juggling and dancing for the kids!  The next part of the show was a fascinating display of several live wild animals from local animal rescuers.  The librarian was quite friendly and gave us an invitation to stay in her yard, which we ended up declining.  Cody had found a great place to camp outside the park by the river.
Cherry tree in Hamilton, MT
We were toying with the idea of building a raft of logs and floating the rest of the way to Missoula. 

Montana Neighborliness

There was a trail through the area that the public used to walk their dogs and swim, and there were absolutely no signs indicating it was anything but public land, and nothing indicating there was no camping.  We cooked up a nice meal, ate lots of chocolate for desert we had found, and had a good night's sleep.  But in the morning the police showed up.  They said one of the neighbors had called them, and that we were on private property.  They said this even as the public was walking their dogs through there.  They also said the caller had complained that we were walking around naked, which was yet another instance of bearing false witness.  We were by this time feeling astonished at how many times people in Montana were quick to call the cops and see things that simply do not exist, rather than simply walking over and talking to us.  Simply talking to neighbors not only promotes simple humanity but also saves taxpayer expense, if we want to talk money.  The cops themselves even seemed reluctant to respond to such calls.

Bye bye friend

We ended up ditching the rafting idea, since the river was too low.  Mika wanted to walk, not raft, and also felt that her heart was not totally with the moneyless tribe.  She had made this clear from the beginning--a temporary thing to try out--as she didn't want to give up all her money and had other plans.  So she parted ways with us, staying with an old friend in Hamilton, and a couple days later decided to walk by herself to Missoula.  She'd thought she could catch up with us, but we took too many detours.  We took our time, camping along the river, and detoured to highway 269 all the way to Stevensville.

More Montana Neighborliness

Again, somebody called the cops on us, simply for walking along the highway!  The cops came by to talk to us, apologetically, and realized how ridiculous it was that somebody had called them.  This was the 5th time somebody had called the cops on us in not even 2 weeks of walking in Montana! 

We've experienced the very good and very bad in people in this state.

St Mary's Mission in Stevensville, MT
We showed up at St. Mary's Mission, and one of the caretakers was extremely friendly and welcomed us to camp there.   The next day was Sunday, so we decided to attend mass.  The priest, Matthew Huber, happened to preach about providing hospitality to wandering strangers.  Then he asked us to introduce ourselves, and I told them we were on a faith walk without money.  I guess I didn't make it clear that we did not accept money, and people started pouring money into our hands after the service.  We ended up with over $100, and I felt flabbergasted!  So we decided to give the money to the priest, and he said he'd put it into their fund to feed the homeless. 

Later, a couple parishioners brought us enough food to last us several days! There was to be a free concert at the mission later that day of classical and opera music, so we attended and helped clean up.  They gave us their leftover treats.

Meanwhile, Mika made it to Missoula a couple days before us, surprised to not have run into us, then hitch-hiked to Portland, missing us altogether.

Wedding Union & Tribal Parting

Our remaining tribe of five camped at the River near Missoula for a few days.  Then I left my friends for a couple days to attend Mark Sundeen's and Cedar Brandt's wedding.
Cedar & Mark wed

Sallie & Me ringing in
Mark & Cedar's wedding
I was telling people about our tribe family, with feelings of pride, and saying how none of them showed any signs of giving up.  Little did I realize, but I returned and found that Cody and Summer also quietly left for Portland.  I knew Summer previously had been talking about leaving to have surgery.  So Cody decided to escort her to Portland for that reason.  I'm glad he felt responsible enough for her to go with her, even though he's been my right-hand man who gave me the boost I needed to begin this venture.

Then, a few days later, Brandon decided to go back to Las Vegas to help out his family for a month.  So now it is just Javier and me.  They plan to return.  But I have to admit, I go through times of feeling extremely disheartened.  Then I meditate on it and let it go, and feel at peace.  Then I feel disheartened again, and go through that process again (Please, some commentators, refrain from advice).  Quite a few people are telling us they plan to join the moneyless tribe, but we never know until it happens.  This is all good, because it can only be powerful if those who join have hearts totally into this, here and now.  Here's what I posted on the website: Are You Committed to Join the Moneyless Tribe?

I've become intensely endeared to each person who joined our tribe, each so incredibly unique and gifted in his or her own way.  The love I've felt goes beyond description, and I feel deep gratitude that each has been a part of my life, whether for a short or long time.  All things are impermanent, but there is also something permanent, endearingly enduring, too.    
Summer, Cody, Suelo, Brandon
in Stevensville, MT
(Javier no in this this pic since he took it)

More Hospitality

Garden of 1000 Buddhas
Meanwhile, Mark's friends, Michael and Kate, invited us to stay at their house for a few days, since the Missoula police were planning to do a raid at the river to clean out homeless people.  What a great tactic to eliminate homelessness!  It works so well they keep doing it over and over all over the country!  Excuse my sarcasm.
Kate left town for a couple weeks and Michael hosted Javier, me, and Brandon (before he left) very generously.  He also entertained us well, taking us to the   Garden of One Thousand Buddhas north of Missoula, and also to the river. 
Rosie the dog singing
with Michael & Suelo
We redeemed food and he shared eating like royalty with us nearly every day we were there.

Now Javier and I are doing some volunteer work at Missoula's Free Cycles, and we hope to build bicycles to continue on our journey.

Typical cornucopia
of redeemed food

We got more doses of the Buddha way by meditating, for the second Monday in a row, at the Open Way mindfulness center in Missoula.  I got to meet Rhonda there, a person who's been in e contact with me a bit.  There's a good community of about 20 people there.


Javier at the Blackfoot River
Javier (and Brandon, while he was here) are into talking about spiritual esoterica in the Bible & other scriptures.  It's been refreshing for me, since I don't get to discuss these things very often with folks.  Perhaps I can share what we talk about in future posts.  Meanwhile, here's a couple scripture verses we've been mulling over during the past days, considering why they are so mysteriously ignored and explained away by conventional churches, especially those which complain about people "picking and choosing" for or against scriptures they like or dislike:

Now when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees

when the Kingdom of God would come,
he answered them and said,
"The Kingdom of God
does not come with observation;
nor will they say,
'Look here!' or 'Look there!'
For indeed,
the Kingdom of God is within you.'

Then he said to the disciples,
"The days will come
when you will desire to see
one of the days of the Son of Man,
and you will not see it.
And they will say to you,
'Look here!' or 'Look there!'
Do not go after them or follow them."
(Luke 17:20-21)

And, again, a fave I like to quote:

Therefore you also be ready:
for the Son of Man
*comes at an hour when you
do not think.
(Luke 12:40)
*present tense