It seemed that by staying on the move, a large diverse contingent was finding a way to exist outside the prevailing social fabric. This party also seemed intent upon finding a way to live that precluded it from inadvertently becoming the beast it was trying to avoid. Many sojourners thought themselves gypsies, pilgrims, early Christians, but to a large extent would avoid identifying as such. Singer Jackson Browne seemed to have described it when he called the roads filled with homeless souls with no idea where they are going, but will help you if they can. Taking this journey to gather story made me part of it. I was hardly just an outside observer reporting on my witness. Instead, I sprang into relationships with those I was engaged with on my journey. In the past several months, I had come to rely on strangers for support and was given opportunities to help others.
In the background spiritual elements seemed engaged in the struggle that had been introduced to most of us in our church’s and culture’s tales, myths, and legends. Shortly before I began my journey, a young woman I met in a Subway store in Saint Catharines, Ontario introduced me to the concept of “mark of the beast” as contained in Revelations. I had not heard that tale previously. However, it seemed to have a large focus in both the traveling and settled world. Other tales and spiritual themes wove thru society. Not all were based on the Christian story, others were present. But a prevelant theme seemed to involve how we treat and relate to each other and our earthly home.
Many substances, later termed “substances of abuse,” were wide spread during this time. It almost seemed that those who provided aid to travelers were not adverse to using such substances. It was difficult to tell whether those not giving aid to travelers would use substances; the main assumption is they were not. In reflecting on this story, I will try as best I can to be objective. That is difficult when I was so much part of the tale. I will try to achieve balance by exposing the viewpoint and cultural lens, I draw on to examine this journey. Briefly, I used substances, had a Cathoilic school education, and had separated myself from this country by resisting the Viet Nam war. I began my journey by accepting amnesty granted to US Army deserters and was motivated to travel about seeking and promoting healing from sundry war wounds. I will spend a day reflecting before writing it down. Afterward, I will go back to unpacking my tales.