Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day One Hundred and One: Beautiful Day

I kept waking last night, my elbow aching from my fall yesterday as I left the school out the back door on day one hundred, the snow a perfect powder of white and I step, step, stepped until I found myself sliding and then crashing on my side, taking the ice to my elbow like a spinning top. And on day one hundred, I'd thought. I'd been so proud that I hadn't fallen. Maybe it's symbolic -- the pain -- I'd thought.

Now as I walk down the lane, I stretch the ache out of my stiff elbow. I jog a little with no back pack because I was nearing a melt-down trying to get the clothing-stuffed bag onto my shoulders when Michael drove back into the yard, walked back into the house, and said, "What's wrong. Here. Let me take that."

I'm walking.

"Good Morning," says a voice in the darkness.

"Ahhh," I cry.

"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you," says my neighbour, unlocking his truck.

"No. No." I say. "Beautiful day, isn't it."

"Yes, it will be," he says.

"Already is," I call over my shoulder.

Sound bites and photo stills from Sunday loop and snap above, below, around, beside, within my heart until I could teach a preposition lesson on this first day of the second semester, mapping the relationships between my heart and everything I heard and saw during the Treaty Walk gathering. I have posted the pictures, but haven't written anything yet; a day, now two, behind.

And how will I write about that day anyway? It was too powerful. Too poetic. Too perfect to wreck with second-hand words. But I will, and I know it, so I keep walking.

"Do you have a minute before things get started," says Kate.

"Sure," I say.

She motions to the low bench against the gymnasium wall, behind the slide-show screen. "I have something for you." We sit down. She holds up a parcel, wrapped in newspaper. "I want to give this to you."

"Oh, Kate. And what do I have for you?"

"But first I have to tell you the story. I was going to wrap this for you in Newspaper, so I reached into the recycling, and just grabbed a paper. I was chatting with Daisy, and taping as I went, then I turned the paper over and look!" She holds up the front of the parcel. "It's you, in the article about today in the Fort Times."

"No way," I say. I unwrap the gift and it is one of Kate's new pieces of art. "Oh, Kate. This is beautiful." Framed in white with a white matting is colour, design, life burgeoning beginnings in pencil watercolour. "I'll hang this for inspiration," I say.

"I call it 'Pregnancy' or 'Possibilities.' I couldn't decide, so I call it both." She turns the picture over and both titles are hand written on the back.

For the last two months Kate's been living an artistic awakening, creating art and blogging. She calls her blog: Moving Forward... Looking for the Joy. She tells me that I got her started.

When I introduce the panel later, I tell this newspaper story, mention her blog, and then explain that Kate is someone I call when I am overwhelmed by resistance. When I feel ineffective or foolish, Kate's words and art and life bring me wisdom and courage.

Day One Hundred and One: January 31st Pictures

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day One Hundred: Launch

I reach for my red-headed firstborn's hand and our fingers intertwine. We're in the last row of green and black chairs, coffee at our back, sixty or so people listening to panelists talk their treaty walk.

Michael stands behind a podium next to the sheet covered frame, through which I projected a slide show earlier. The panelists are on the other side of the screen. My husband, the speakers and we, the audience, are triangulating treaty.
You hear the expression, "We are all Treaty people." What does that mean to you?

In your opinion, "Why would a teacher need to 'mediate on treaties'?"

In her blog, Sheena confesses, "I've lived in Treaty 4 territory most of my life, AND as a Saskatchewan teacher, I am expected to bring 'Treaty teachings' into my classroom; However, I 'know' very little about treaties." How common is this statement?

Do you feel any significant connection to the fact that we live in a place where Treaty Four was signed?

In your estimation, how would you characterize the relationship between First Nations and non-First Nations here in the Fort, in Saskatchewan?

What role does Treaty Four have in this relationship?

In her blog (Day 10), Sheena recounts a friend of ours, Helen Blacklake, making moccasins with a beaded Mini-Mouse design. What comparison would you make between these Mini-Mouse moccasins and Treaties?

The other day, Sheena was interviewed on CBC’s  Blue Sky, and at the end of the interview the radio host said something to the effect of, “Well, you have made a good impact or good start (on social justice) with this blog."  How much of an impact do you think Treaty Walks will make?

Right now, young Michelle -- who is expecting her first born -- is looking straight at me from the panel table; our eyes meeting through a sight line of black, brown, blonde and grey haired guests. She is offering me water words which I am gulping down my dry throat; as my heart is filling to overflowing Victoria squeezes my hand and Michelle's words drip down my cheeks, splashing on my glasses, salt stained still the next day.

Day One Hundred: January 29th and 30th Pictures

My own pictures from Day 100 and Blog Launch

Thank you to Lesley Farley, friend and colleague,
for the following Day 100 and Blog Launch pictures.

Day 100 Treaty Walks