I wake at 4:00am, and I could get up. That would make the morning possible, I think, but the bed is warm and the sky is grey. The alarm rings at 5:00am, and I could get up. Everything will be better in the morning, my dad always says.
It’s 5:30 and I’m thinking of coffee and Windscript, the high school writing magazine published by the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild. I’ve read through sixty voices and around two hundred poems and short stories. I’ve chosen thirty two pieces and twenty one voices. This morning I need to check emails, gather electronic copy, and edit, edit, edit.
It’s 6:30 and things are going well. The coffee is strong. I sit on the bouncy ball in my windowless basement office, making decisions like I had a high rise office with a window.
It’s 7:30 and I’ve washed a load of clothes, packed for Creating in the Qu’Appelle, a three-day writing camp for teachers and students, We’ll leave today after school, my four students and I. It really doesn’t make sense to walk. I need a vehicle at school. But everything is okay, and doable, so I pack my backpack, purse, morning pages, Windscript drafts.
To carry an umbrella or not? It’s drizzling, little tickles of rain. I find the umbrella, pull my blue coat on, and the red back pack sticks on my arm-cuff, and I pull, pull, pull and finally the backpack strap snaps up my arm.
It’s 7:53 and I’m walking down the lane, and my back pack is heavy, but not unbearable. The birds are bright with songs. See, I think, if I’d driven, I would have missed the mist and morning music. But no one would have blamed me for driving with Windscript and Creating in the Qu’Appelle and Business Plans to edit, attend, and write.
And it hits me, as I snap pictures of budding leaves, that my Treaty Walks are entirely voluntary. My Treaty Walks are a demonstration of my privilege. It’s my choice to walk this walk. It’s my privilege to stop writing for a week or more. People understand. People know I’m tired. People get that things are piling up. For most who know they are on a treaty walk, those we usually think of as treaty people, there has not been a lot of privilege accompanying their treaty walks.
It’s past 8:00 as I walk out of the trees, onto the valley floor, when I realize I haven’t worked the backpack metaphor on my blog, Peggy McIntosh’s Backpack, that is, the backpack of white privilege. I’m walking and changing my morning lesson.
It’s 9:00am and I’m telling my students to get their writing notebooks out. They are to make a list, a list of what they have in their backpack, purse, locker, closet, under their bed. I list the contents of my backpack. We’ll write poems together. I’ll share the great list poem, “I’m Telling you Now”. We’ll save the metaphor of privilege for another day.
It’s 11:30pm and I’m typing in a cabin full of girls, past lights out. I’m getting back on track, I’m at writing camp and I’m writing. Everything will be better in the morning.