Friday, December 9, 2011

Day Seventy: Moment of Awe

The parka shell crinkles in the crisp air, arms and legs swinging down the coulee. Protecting me from the morning, my balaclava is knitted skin. Through the trees I see a giant, new street light. No. It's the moon. Big, round, in the tips of the trees and hovering above the governance centre tipi. I slip off my right canvas mitt and fumble with the camera in my pocket. I snap, but the moon is small, like a street light in digital. I pick up my pace. The moon will be rising and I'll miss a shot with the tipi.

Rather than inch up through the trees, the moon has sunk. What am I thinking? It's morning, and the moon will be going down, not up. I start jogging. Need to get out of the trees to get a good shot.

The windchill is higher as I run, but I feel strong, maybe the cold helps my knee. I come out of the clearing and take a picture. The moon is still too small. I jog. I'm going to miss it. The moon is sinking. It's orange now, just like the side lighting of the tipi. I'm warming up, run-walking, racing the moon.

The ski hill snow machines are launching crystals like a wind-tunnel-blizzard. I can't pass the mounds of man-made-snow without a picture, so I detour into the ditch and up into the ski-hill field. My bare hand is stiff with the cold as I put my mitt back on after a ski hill photo shoot.

I jog and hear a rumble at my back, turning in time to see car lights catching me jogging; I know I'm lit up in reflector tape. The moon has fallen behind the tipi. The vehicle passes and I wave, then jog through the ditch, into the treaty four grounds so I can see the moon next to the tipi. I snap from the field, closer and closer until the moon deflates into an oval. I'm overheating as I review my footage. None of the pictures say what I want them to say. I keep walking and let the moon go.

In period four Jade's faculty advisor arrives for our final meeting. We sign her IPP, announcing to the world her achievement. Outstanding characteristics include: provides treaty education; knowledge of social/historical contexts of injustice; uses diverse knowledge and multiple perspectives and Indigenous ways of knowing; demonstrates cultural awareness and uses culturally responsive classroom management approaches; and classroom climate of care.

I read deeper into the fine print of the field manual:

"Consistently and thoroughly integrates the historical and social context of injustice/inequity (e.g. addresses the ongoing and persistent relevance of gender, race, class, colonialism and abelism)"

"Knows Treaty Education is a requirement and demonstrates an understanding of why it is a curriculum requirement. Consistently integrates Treaty Education content across all instructional competencies."

"Integrates diverse knowledge and multiple perspectives i.e. intern is purposefully contested and controversial. Integrates a variety of world views and perspectives on content and in instructional approaches centres Indigenous ways of knowing."

"Recognizes the experiences and capacity of students to contribute to learning, e.g. providing opportunities for students to determine how and what they will learn; providing opportunities for students to affect the learning environment, providing 'voice, choice and say' in learning."

Val, the faculty advisor, takes a picture of Jade and me holding the document; the photo and the fine print are an orange moon-set beside the world's tallest occupied tipi; the snapshot is accurate and lovely, but not able to capture what it is to live in the moment of awe.


  1. Running. Strong. Cold. Crystals.
    Words that made the picture that wasn't.


  2. Moon chaser. So much reminded me of ann voskamp while reading. she also wrote of a moon chasing experience. Love this post. Love the moments of awe that can't be adequately documented or captured, but our hearts remember them, right?!