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Images to Provoke Thought

I am doing two things with this posting. First, this is the first time I am posting twice on the same day. Second, it is the first time I am posting something other than a professional reflection. These images do reflect learning. I am terrified of heights. Even when I sit in the car, with my eyes closed at the Grand Canyon, I am aware I am at the edge of an abyss. This fear is both irrational and ironic. As an ice hockey player, I play goal and have faced shots of approximately 90 miles an hour. It could be argued this is foolish and I must be afraid. The irrational nature of fear and non-fear allows me to say, “I am not afraid.” If I could explain what draws me play goal, I would probably not do it. What I have concluded is I feel in control when I play goal, but do not when I fly, sit at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or climb a ladder and, as a result, suffer. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, shared this about suffering in a recent posting: “Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as ‘whenever you are not in control’.”

Fortunately, Kathy comes to my rescue in moments of suffering and takes great pictures to share her experience. In that way, it is a shared experience and, for that, I am grateful. I see and experience these moments through her eyes.

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This is the Chapel of the Holy Cross built into the wall of the canyon overlooking Sedona, Arizona.

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This is the Grand Canyon at Desert View which is the beginning of the trip along the North Rim of the Canyon. At the bottom of the several thousand foot drop, you catch a glimpse of the Colorado River.

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This is the watchtower where the previous photo was taken. I did make it inside and felt somewhat secure in the idea that I would not fall to the bottom of the canyon. I did look out the windows. The watchtower is an amazing, contemporary acknowledgement of the history and nature of the region as evidenced by the art work on the walls.

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These are the remnants of living quarters of a group of people who lived in the Grand Canyon area about 800-900 years ago. It is part of what is called the Tusayan Ruins. I was able to get out of the car as this was on the other side of the highway from the Grand Canyon. The people who lived here were small and did not grow to more than 5 feet in height, so the living quarters were quite small. What caused them to leave? That is an eloquent question open to discussion.

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This is a picture of Kathy and I at Tusayan. You can see I am still concerned about the idea we are 7000 feet above sea level. Only a small smile sneaks out. If you squint, the snow-covered peaks of the San Francisco mountain range are in the background. This weekend concluded the Arizona ski season. The highest peak is 12,000 plus feet and several peaks remain snow covered year round.

This is a tiny sampling of pictures taken over the past week. Kathy takes pictures to overcome my fear of heights while visiting  places like the Grand Canyon, Jasper, and Yellowstone.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Teacher as Transformer

  2. Pingback: Seeing the Ordinary as Extraordinary « Teacher as Transformer

  3. Although I personally have a respectful fear of heights, I can usually control this on a mental level.
    The moment I see my daughter near ‘any’ edge at ‘whatever’ height is where my fear becomes ‘real’.
    And if this happens at a place where there is definite ‘danger’ height, I can almost become paralyzed with fear. Like a bridge…or the Eiffel Tower.
    I would prefer to have Maddy on a leash at these times…

    A wonderful post Ivon :)

    Reply

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