Tag Archives: Remembrance

I’m Here

(Red Shoes Series)

Saturday Afternoon at the Cabin

Everyone snoozes.

From the far room, Dad’s snore’s whistle. When I was young Dad’s snores rolled in swells through the house. Once, while camping with my cousins, Dad’s snores woke campers two sites over.

Dad’s snores are the sounds of home, the home of the youth where I turned over at night and snuggled deeper into the covers when there was an unknown thump on the back deck or the coyote howls were nearby; I am safe, Dad is downstairs.

His snores are different since the stroke, high pitched, and far away.

Long ago Dad put a crystal in the front window. It spins in the afternoon sun sending tiny rainbows dancing in circles around the living room.

I drift into sleep and forget for a moment where I am. Remembering comes before my eyes pull open or the ray of spinning light circles by. Curled on the sofa, I pull and push trying to shift away from the heaviness in my chest.

I open my eyes.

I listen to the stillness of a home where everyone sleeps until Dad calls, “Lynne, Lynne.”

“I’m here, Al,” Mom says from her single bed beside Dad and he whistles again.

I can hear the hum from the fridge and the settling groan from the front porch. The ceiling fan clicks. With each turn the four inch chain pull cord that no one has touched since the winter we put that Christmas tree up with scaffolding whirls.

On the sofa, my daughter’s breaths come in deep fresh air rasps.

The hum from the fridge stops.

Outside, a car passes by.

What will happen when I can no longer hear the whistle…

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2013: A Video Story

Toward the end of year I noticed short videos popping up in my Instagram feed. What a great way to share a year in review. I began putting a short video together and then I realized that much of my year was missing.

I went back to my photos from 2013. Though I don’t deliberately take a photo a day, I do take many photos. I try to capture all that makes up my world.

As I began to put the video together I began to reflect on my year. Relationships matter to me. Place matters to me. Time matters to me. I am surprised at how much more courageous the students and I are than we ever imagined. I am in awe at how our courage is connected to place – a physical place and a storying space within – more than we ever dreamed possible.

The following is a video of only photos from 2013; Jessy Lee advised I leave out videos, this year.

Most of the photos are in chronological order. Some of the photos may not make any sense to folks who haven’t lived alongside Jess, our family or my other kids this past year, and that’s okay.

2013 was beautiful.

These are our stories…

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Out of Tune

A bunch of stuff was out of tune Thursday.

During the Remembrance Day service the kindergartens, grade 1 and grade 2 shared. They shared K’Naan’s Wavin Flag. If you haven’t listened to it, do.

The kids rocked it. I mean really, really rocked it. My senior kids have begun to study performance poetry. Some of my grade 11/12 have been invited into elementary classes to share their passion for performance. So Thursday, when those little ones began rocking out, my kids got fired up. I got fired up. And I have to admit, I did absolutely nothing to quiet my kids. In fact, I joined in. I was joyful right alongside my kids. The south side of the gymnasium where the student body was seated was gleeful. The north side of the gymnasium where the community was seated was… not so much. When one of the grade 1, by memory, recited the lines Drake shares in the young artists’ version, almost every pair of Language Learning eyes from grade 9 to 12, turned and looked at me, and in unison mouthed, “Wow!”

It was a gutsy performance by an amazing group of young kids and their amazing teacher. The teacher is a person my kids know and respect. We are a rural school. We are one close, big family. When the song ended, my kids were on their feet, cheering and clapping. Actually, my kids and I were on our feet, cheering and clapping…

Things sort of went down-hill from there.

The event was not an assembly, but a service.

My students love performance poetry. They love giving voice to issues that need voice. So, with mic in hand, they continued to share pieces filled with meaning for the day and filled with meaning for today’s youth.

The room grew yet more distant, and we had not yet come to the Last Post.

When the trumpets played a child in the section reserved for community began to softly sing and to cry following along with the trumpet tune. I thought the sound, the addition, beautiful.  An adult tried to hush the child.

As we transitioned into a moment of silence, the child continued to sing softly. I think this was my favourite part of the service, certainly, the part that resonated.

I do remember. And so do my kids. And so too will the wee ones who, for the most part, spend each day at the other end of the school.

As my kids cleaned up the gymnasium, a few shared that some of their parents and a few members of the community were not entirely happy with our exuberance.

With the community making its way out the doors, my kids and I returned to our room. Then, a few kids zipped off down the hall to the store room to fetch an old piano. During transport, the piano left a rather large scuff in the wax the length of the hallway, joining until the winter-break-waxing, the elementary end with the high school end. An elementary student, flanked by community members, paused at the scuff and then looked at me.

“What are you going to do about it?”

Well, the piano is for our room, out of tune or not, but wanted. Yes, it is a rather old, dark grey-ish fading piano, but the kids chose it. The moment it was in our room, the kids pulled off a few boards so the piano’s insides became visible. Monday, we begin to graffiti piano’s shell. We do this because we’re a family. We do this to stay a family.  We do it with the Principal’s approval.

I just want to celebrate successes, you know. I get so caught up in the good. I never mean disrespect. This isn’t an apology, since I know in a heartbeat, I’d cheer again. I am just trying to envision remembrance in a space where silence and scuff and kids and cori are allowed room to sing.

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