It's three a.m. and the less-than-full moon turns the night sky a deep blue in my tall windows that lean over the trees near the top of the coulee above the lake. I lay in bed, listening to the geese gathering. I imagine the cold water between their voices. I can't sleep. Had a Sunday afternoon nap. Drank Diet Pepsi. Watched Big Bang. A passing thought whispers: get up and walk to school early. Instead I walk across the hallway and climb under the warm covers with my nine year old. I let her sleeping breath teach me and I finally fall asleep.
My six a.m. alarm is ugly, even at a distance. I stumble from Arwen's room to turn it off and crawl into bed with Michael. So comfortable. I'll just close my eyes. For. One. Minute. It's six twenty-four and I sit up straight. I can hear the geese prophesying. Winter is on his way. Snow, snow and blowing snow.
There is a wind and I'm glad I've switched to a bunny hug over my running shirt with a wind break jacket as a shell. I pull on my green glove and then my blue glove. I'm drinking coffee in a High School Musical mug. Had to use Arwen's soy milk because I'd forgotten to go get groceries after my nap yesterday. No milk in the house. I hang the mug in the first clump of trees after leaving the tree-lined road. Silly mug. I usually give it to my brother. "I saved your mug for you," I say. "Oh, thank you. Love it," he says in his best Valley Girl accent.
There's ice this morning and delicate frost. I'm having too much fun taking pictures and my serious self is a little impatient with my playful side. But the playful keeps stopping me in my tracks. "Oooh. Look at that." Michael drives by with little Lanelle in the back seat, and Uncle Michael won't smile nice for the camera.
On the open stretch of pavement my mind laps back to my loops from last night: treaties and the upcoming election. When I get to school I update my status on facebook. "
I get home at seven thirty or so and As It Happens is on the radio as I unpack groceries. I throw margarine in the pan, no butter, and slice mushrooms and press garlic. Stir. Salt. A guy named Scott Haldane is the Chair of the National Panel on First Nations Elementary and Secondary Education. They've visited Ontario, BC, and the Atlantic Provinces, and now AIH caught up with Haldane in Winnipeg. I tell Arwen. "Shhh. Mommy wants to hear this." Joint project between Assembly of First Nations and Federal Government. Only fifty percent graduate compared to national average of eighty percent. Twenty cents on the dollar less devoted to First Nations education. I sell myself a chocolate-dance-fundraiser-box-of-almonds that I've already paid for and step, step, step upstairs.