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October 7, 2010

Over the years the woman taught the villagers to hunt the bears only when necessary,

and to do so with deep reverence…

She was happy to be sharing what she had learned,

but she felt out of place,

and so did her children…

She often caught herself growling softly,

and craving raw salmon…

— in The Woman Who Married a Bear retold by Elizabeth James…

Some people have near death experiences,

and they know they’ve had them,

because family stories,

and other things,

keep the memories alive…

Other people,

have near death experiences,

that are locked away in cell structures,

and family secrets…

It takes a different kind,

of reality check,

to find these stories,

and bring them out into the light,

for holding,

and letting go…

I worked with a boy whom,

I was told,

had anger issues…

He was part of a group of boys,

who came together,

in Kindergarten,

and then headed my way,

for grade one…

Cantonese was their first language,

and Lego was their second,

but the dominant discourse insisted,

they lose their mother tongue,

and speak English…

I battled with them…

I battled with myself…

And then I went along with what I couldn’t control,

and asked the school custodian to translate,

the riches of their guy talk…

The boy with anger issues would lean against me,

like an almond-eyed cat,

with all his weight,

as he shared the details of his spaceships,

and fighter planes…

His mother once told me,

out in the parking lot,

I never wanted to get married,

or have children…

And I certainly never wanted boys…

I’ve done everything in my life,

for outside expectations…

I didn’t judge her,

because I knew where she was coming from…

I also know we’re all doing the best we can,

to keep our heads,

above water,

in the river,

as the earth below our feet,

is dug out from under us,

by culture…

And from snap shots,

of revelations,

I saw what bound this woman,

and her two boys,

up with me…

When we’re not wanted,

right from the beginning,

we smell it,

and feel it,

in each other,

from one hundred miles away…

It doesn’t matter in which life,

the not wanting happened,

it just keeps re-playing itself,

until we write a different story,

for ourselves,

and our people…

The younger brother came into my class four years later,

and due to prior knowledge,

and experiences,

I was already primed,

for his magic,

as we pulled it out of the hat,

ahead of all those white rabbits…

This little boy wasn’t content with leaning…

He would climb right onto my lap,

and pull the arms hanging down,

by my side,

around him,


as he showed me his battleships,

and submarines,

combined from colourful cubes,

which connect…

Me always longing for another adult in the room,

to bear witness,

to the contact,

of creative license…

I remember the day,

when things spun out of control,

due to the surprise viewing of a classmate’s panties,

at circle time,

and how the only idea that would fly,

was my request for them to draw their brains,

dying of laughter…

All of them chomping at the bit,

to show what they felt in their grey matter,

when it bubbled with excitement,

and bliss…

Mapping out pre-frontal cortex,

on over size,

construction paper…

As an educator,

and citizen of the world,

bridge building,

before I have all of the pieces,

to complete the span,

is an on-going practice of synthesis,

and suspension…

I used every chance,

I got,

to make it my business,

to tell the mother,

of those two boys,

all the gifts I could see in each one of them…

I found specific examples,


and picture evidence…

She always looked at me,

with doubt by the truckload,

and said,

You tell me how good my children are…

But it seems that all of the other mothers,

are waiting for any opportunity to see me,

and report the complete opposite…

I really don’t know who to believe…

I told her about jealousy,

and envy,

and female competition…

And as she looked into my kaleidoscope eyes,

I pulled her right into my heart,

and said,

I’ve put a spell on you…

And this one’s not made to be broken

When I’m working… (photo: Starshine)

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