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Activity theory…

October 4, 2010

Xavier twitches and moans in his sleep…

I arranged it so his head lies back in the canoe,

his head on his pack…

I found him in the morning on the beach,

shivering and half-conscious…

What happened over there had wrecked him…

He thinks I don’t see him putting those needles in his arm…

They are a part of what’s killing him…

But something far worse is consuming him from the inside…

It’s this that I must figure out how to remove…

I wish it were simply a matter of finding the right root in the bush…

This is a sickness I’ve not had to face before…

— in Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Some people are terrified of change…

I’m more terrified of staying the same…

This morning,

as I was washing up last night’s dishes,

and Starshine was eating her Cheerios,

she asked me,

So Mama,

what are you going to do today???

I watched my Protestant work ethic,

and noticed that the trigger was slighter than in the past…

In the past,

when I couldn’t relax enough to enjoy my summer holidays,

as a teacher,

because I allowed the begrudgement

and pressure of others,

to get to me,

with their,

You’re so lucky,

to have all of that time off…

Anyone who thinks a public school teacher is lucky,

to have all of that time off,

should spend just one morning in a classroom,

without an educational assistant,

or time alone on the throne,

right around 10:15 am,

after your second coffee….

You think I’m joking,

but I’m dead serious…

One of the first things I’m going to tell my staff,

when I am a principal,

is this,

The very second you feel like number two is about,

to knock at the door,

send a runner,

with a happy face sticker,

and I’ll be there…

No questions asked…

And there’s a treat in my office,

for after you’ve experienced success…

You might think that now,

I’m just goofing around…

But I’m not…

I have a clear agenda,

to create movement,

and I’m not afraid to use it…

I’ve heard people without a clue,

make assumptions,

I taught music lessons,

twenty years ago,

for a school district,

in downtown Toronto…

I’m just not willing to go back to school,

to get qualified for what I already know I can do…

Other people see the light,

and say,

Over my dead body…

I know there’s nothing more challenging than teaching and learning,

with other people’s children…

I can barely handle my own…

And I just can’t go with the flow…

I’ll leave it to the people who love that kind of work…

I started to list off all of the things I was intending to do today,

telling my daughter about all of the ways I could busy myself,

for the sake of appearances,

until she got home from school…

But I remembered who I was talking to,

and that I have a responsibility to walk a little straighter…

I told her,

I think I’ll put out some catnip,

lay on the couch,

and watch Mr. Mouser…

When an animal,

or anyone else for that matter,

comes into your field,

you are being offered an opportunity,

to look in the mirror…

It’s up to you to open your eyes,

and to be willing to see the projection,

of the image…

I have major issues with confinement,

and being held back,

for my own good,

and other people’s convenience…

I have watched myself,

pace,

rear,

and come undone,

like a corralled stallion…

I also know I have an exceptional capacity to sit,

in peace,

and quiet,

when left to my own devices,

and given the space to run with them…

This cat guest,

is one and the same…

He’s an apartment cat,

but in my house,

he can hear the sounds of cats fighting,

and mating…

He sees the trees,

full of birds…

He can smell that big old world out there,

and he wants a piece of it,

come hell or high water…

But for now,

we stay in the house,

together,

and apart,

together,

and apart,

following the rhythm of the day…

Each for our own intents,

and purposes,

because I haven’t been given,

the permission,

to see where he wants to go,

and where life wants to take him…

I love it when people tell me,

I don’t want to control you…

I just want you to be happy…

If that were the truth,

this oxymoron wouldn’t need to be said,

it would just be happening…

Last week,

at the Terry Fox Run,

a parent approached me,

with some hesitation…

But maybe I’m projecting…

Our paths have crossed many times over the last seven years,

as our children attended the same day care,

and are now at the same school…

I really didn’t want to go there,

but he started talking about his job search,

and how driving his youngest son to daycare,

and back,

made for a short day of searching…

I said,

Maybe nothing is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing right now…

I saw his panic,

because I recognized it from my own…

He said,

Oh, I have to get a job,

I can’t be off for one,

or two,

or more years…

He held himself back from saying,

Like you…

And I held myself back from saying,

You think you’re in control here,

but you’re not,

because the message is sinking in somewhere,

just from being around me…

Early yesterday morning,

at the soccer pitch,

in the drizzle of what Starshine calls perfect game weather,

another mother and I stood talking,

as our daughters got in line,

for their team photos…

She told me about the sadness,

and loneliness,

she has experienced,

since she quit her job…

How she’s always worked,

and being at home all day,

is really hard,

for her to relax into…

She knew quitting was the right thing to do…

She couldn’t stand the power hungry,

self-interested CEO,

who took over her high-tech company,

I knew it wasn’t good for me,

or where I was supposed to be…

Her husband is out of work too,

And one of us really needs to be earning,

some income…

I held myself back from saying,

If I got the chance to be at home all day with my husband,

I’d be looking into singing,

and dancing,

and cooking up the business,

as soon as I got the kids off to school,

because she may be a church going woman,

and not everyone is into that kind of prayer…

I told her about my wu wei bootcamp,

and asked her how long she has been,

in her current state,

of unemployment…

She said,

Since June 1…

I said,

all tongue ‘n cheek,

Oh that’s got to be really rough…

She laughed and said,

I guess I’m still a baby in the out of work department…

I said,

Oh Honeychile,

you ain’t even been born yet…

You’s still in the egg…

And I’m willing to hold your hand,

when you need it,

every second Sunday…

Just come,

and stand by me…

There’s a man who paces,

the sidewalk,

in front of my house…

He has his good days,

and his bad days…

Only once has he looked me in the eye,

and said,

Hello…

Most of the time he’s in his own world,

with ropes tied strategically up his pant legs,

and around his waist…

A month or so ago,

he passed by me,

flipped open his old cell phone,

and said something about,

Norwegian Intelligence…

I could tell that he was reading a book,

which has yet to be written…

He just needs someone to hear his story

Rain falls in real time... (staging and photo: Little Gem)

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