Mars to Nova Scotia, India and New Zealand

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, January 14, 2004

The universe is shrinking! The universe is shrinking!

I mean, how else can we understand the current state of communication that allows a Maritimer fascinated with Mars to sit at our table with coffee companions from India and New Zealand and reflect together on technology, global tensions and inner peace?

Former Cochrane residents Ron and Carol Buckley now live near Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where they own and operate The Old Rectory Bed & Breakfast, a hospitality facility within walking distance of the Bay of Fundy. Ron, a retired geologist, wrote:

I JUST READ your Jan. 7 column and thought again about the size of our universe and our part in it. Really amazing. I have been watching the pictures coming back from Mars and we truly live in a unique time slot. During the last Rover exploration on Mars I watched its progress on the NASA site on the Internet. What a wonder, that both Rover and now Spirit can roll over to a rock and chemically analyze it and send the results back to us. We always analyzed rock in mineral exploration but we had to break off a piece then send it into the lab, wait for weeks to get the results.

—Ron Buckley, Port Williams, NS

MEANWHILE, also with an eye on major events, Cochrane entertainer Candace Carnie noticed the top story on the TV news one day last summer was about religiously-motivated taxi bombings in Mumbai (Bombay), India. She wrote to her friend Raj Patwardhan, who lives in Mumbai, to express her concern.

Raj, a passionate writer, responded most graciously, sending me a poetic reflection of his on the bombings. Fittingly, he titled it "The Top Story":

IN THE NAME of Religion
when bombs blast
mind is shrapnelled
heart stills
soul bleeds
the Body of Religion
sadly victimised
gets nailed in coffins.

In the name of God
when the Satan strikes
eyes are blinded
ears deafened
tongues tied
sounds of guns
smell of death
smokes the prayers...

Who are the winners?
"media barons, vote brokers"
Truth shrouded between the lines
of what is billed
"The Top Story"

—Raj Patwardhan, India

THE VERY next day after receiving Raj's lament on the desecration of life, I received an e-mail from a Maori songwriter in New Zealand on the sacredness of life. Walter Wiperi wrote:

MY PEOPLE are known for karakia ("prayer") and the kaitiaki ("care takers") of Aotearoa ("land of the long white cloud"/New Zealand). Karakia has been poured into this land and we rejuvenate and express that continual connection through song and life.

I found your site ( while looking for something else and enjoyed what you said. Please receive this song as gift of appreciation. Porangimarie ("travel in peace").

Weaver, weave me a coat of colours
A cloak to keep me warm
Weaver, hide me in the shadows of the forest
Where my life, soul was born

In the hands of all that I am
All that I ever was
Shielded from the pain and anguish of love
There beats my mother's heart

Feel the warmth that the birds have given
Take me back to the womb
Guarding this vessel the Spirit within
The night time holds no fear
My sacred love is in the breath of life
And the earth gives me all that I need
Cloak of feathers cover me
That I might journey the night in peace

—W. G. Wiperi, New Zealand

THANK YOU. With wisdom like this, perhaps some day an observer on Mars will look back toward Earth and see that we finally did get peace and goodwill right.

© 2004 Warren Harbeck

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