At the end of my lane I turn left toward town. I glance over my shoulder and see the sunlight lighting up the gravel road that disappears around a hill, mist rising off the lake in the background. As I follow the twists in the road, the sunlight is sometimes strong on my back, and then sometimes the trees give shade. Sometimes the gravel is white with light and then at the shade line it turns greys and browns. The leaves are fluorescent, translucent green, then zucinni and melon skin green. The light changes things. Colour. Temperature. Mood.
I pass beyond the tree-line, into the shadowless valley floor. On the far side of the Treaty 4 grounds, the first teepee has been raised in preparation for Treaty 4 Celebrations next week. Should I take my short-cut or go around? Maybe someone is sleeping in the teepee. Would it be rude to walk past? I step onto the trail that leads past the metal ring with white bleachers surrounded by lamp posts. I see a flock of gulls, like an early snow fall, and I take a picture, but the digital makes them look like little white garbage bags. I keep my camera pointed as I walk closer and sure enough, they fly, but I wish I'd just enjoyed them flying, rather than trying to capture the moment.
A car turns onto the Treaty grounds and I feel silly with my backpack, caught right near the teepee, camera in hand. The car stops beside me and the driver rolls his window down. I lean toward them, big smile on my face. The young man driving asks, "Is this where the pipe ceremony is this morning?"
I grin a little wider, "Oh. I'm just a teacher at the high school, walking to work. I don't know."
The elder nods. "Walking to work." He nods again. His face is wisdom-wrinkled. His eyes are sending me light, like a grandpa to a little girl.
"So things are getting started already," I say.
"Yes, this morning," he says.
"I hope it's okay I took some pictures," I say.
"You can only take pictures," the elder says, "if he's in front of me." He nods at the younger man in the driver seat and then he laughs.
The driver laughs, and I laugh too.