There are plenty of trails on Vancouver Island. A metal fence bars the edge of one forest trail in Collwood where I’m staying. Various gates along this fence invite the eager trekker. A note affixed to the gate stipulates, “Leashed Dogs Only” and “Respect The Wilderness”. This is a message that should be repeated loud and clear. What should be the problem with sharing space with our wilderness?
It has come to my attention that the places of India that are known for their green and are hailed for their forests are challenged by developers. Old timers talk of a place like Vrindavan, the district of Krishna’s childhood pastimes, as losing its foliage and vegetation. The green past is behind. Welcome to the new cluttered concreted Vrindavan.
What’s worse is much of this dissolving of green in Vrindavan is caused by pilgrims, some of whom I know, who insist in having a place in the holy land. I believe that some places on earth which are regarded as sacred should be tampered with as least as possible. In Canada, when a developer is thinking of laying out a new golf course, or the department of highways decides to plough through an area known to be sacred burial grounds our native people raise a fuss, and rightfully so. A case in point. In India, the Kutir, or sacred dwelling of Saint Bhaktivinod Thakura, was demolished for a restaurant/temple facility in Puri, India, by some of our own people. I know little of the details which brought about this decision and stand to be corrected, yet in principle I find it somewhat sacrilegious.
Forests, sacred grounds, historic sites, that provide comfort, reverence, reminders, need protecting.
Meanwhile, I’m thoroughly gaining the satisfaction of trekking and chanting in this BC bush, but flustered by the prospect that we humans may encroach upon this natural facility somewhere in the future to make way for monster homes or useless parking lots for malls where people purchase cheap items made to break. Personally I’m not a supporter of deforestation to erect a box culture community, neither for here, India, or anywhere for that matter. I’m only a tiny voice that may cry in the wilderness and I may hear the echo of my voice bounce off a concrete wall, but I’ll be crying in any case, hoping this sin will cease.
I want to thank Dvija and Will for being gracious hosts, and to thank the three young men, Murti, Yogi and Vyas for their good time on the ferry back to the mainland.