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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Waterton Lakes National Park Day 2

We are back from day 2 of our Waterton Lakes National Park adventures. Yesterday, I commented on International Peace Park that within reason animals are right there and pose for you.  We were unable to post our one bear sighting. Despite poor vision, bears hear very well our sighting was from the boat. As we moved closer, the bear heard us and headed for cover. We only took pictures of his rear end from a distance. Today we had two bear sightings.

This was our first sighting. This bear was about 100 metres away on a hillside as we left town. It is a fair-sized and is brown, but is likely a black bear and not a grizzly. What we could see of the snout and head does not look quite right and it is missing the hump on the back. Here is another view.

Grizzly bear are generally solitary and do not like humans around them where black bear are more likely to approach areas with humans around.

This sign is at the Cameron Lake trail and refers to the area beyond as a ‘grizzly’s garden’ and care is needed beyond this point.

Here is a haiku for grizzly bear we did not see, but we know is out there.

Grizzly’s home and garden

Tread gently and carefully

Grizzly habitat.

Our good fortune was not done. We spotted another black bear on another hillside on our way back from Red Rock Canyon. This one is younger and smaller and is definitely a black bear. I would guess it was born a year ago this past spring.

You can see the snout and the ‘piggy eyes’ of the bear. They are members of the same family as the pig. The ears stick up more and the grizzly would have ears that are ‘teddy bear like’ and stick out from the side of a very large head.

Not all animals we met were as intimidating.

This sheep was about 2 metres from the car and just looked up to have its picture taken.

International Peace Park

Kathy and I wanted to travel down to Glacier National Park, Montana, but the logistics were challenging. We put this on the back burner this year and traveled to Waterton Lakes National Park in the southwest corner of Alberta. The two parks combine and form the first International Peace Park and are often called the Crown of the Continent, but there is no easy way to see both without a lot of traveling or so we thought. Luck intervened and we found our way down to Glacier National Park.

In national parks you can get up close and personal with the wildlife. They are still wild and skittish, but as long as you are careful they stay and. I took this picture just outside the ticket offices for the boat tours. She grazed, let several of us take pictures, and we were within a couple of metres (five or six feet) of her.

Oh my dear, it’s a deer.

We were able to travel to Glacier via an alternate mode of transportation: a boat. This is the US International, an 85-year-old boat, that makes four round trips on Waterton Lake to the south end. Part way through the trip, we crossed into the US and Kathy and I chose to stay for a couple of hours to do some hiking.

An icon of Waterton is the Prince of Wales Hotel. It was built in 1927 and overlooks the lake. It is open from mid-June until mid-September. We have missed it on other trips due to traveling in the off-season, but this year we are stopping for ‘high tea.’ This is a view from the boat.

When Kathy and I got to the US port of entry at Goat’s Haunt, we stayed and hiked into a small alpine lake called Kootenai. It is about an 8 km walk (5 miles) and took about 2.5 hours. This is the ranger station and border crossing. We showed passports and answered routine questions.

This is a view from the path along the way.

Nature’s cathedral

Light dances with shadows below

A benediction.

This was a small stream we passed over twice. The flow of water has worn the rock flat. Nature is rich with paradox.

Life’ rapid current

Smoothing and shining rough edges

Until next rough spot.

We are off for another day of adventure.

Sabbath in Waterton Lakes National Park

Shimon who posts at The Human Picture left a comment on my post Sabbath’s Circle. I am grateful for his explanation of the roots of the word ‘sabbath’ which indicates sitting. It is always good to know what the roots of words are so when we use them we understand them more fully and, when I sit with something in quiet time, it finds its way into my practice.

Kathy and I will drive to Waterton Lakes National Park and I will enjoy my day of disconnecting in a place that is important to us. We spent part of our honeymoon there and it is a special place for us. I am looking forward to spending time in a special place full of God’s many gifts. We are not sure what we will do, but the next 3 days we will just let intuition guide us.

This is a view from about 50 km (30 miles) away from what we will be re-exploring.

 

I will have more to post when I return on Monday.

Heading Home – Haiku Haven

Kathy and I head home after a great month in Spokane and at Gonzaga. I enjoy my time here and find the “pause that refreshes.” Part of this is paying forward which happens and the flow of time within this relational space. I see paying forward as a circle. Yesterday, we said good-bye to a colleague on his way home. He reminded me I lent him one of my papers his first summer here and how much that meant to him at a time he was ready to pack it in. I told him my first experience here was similar and someone reached out to me. I find the same thing in virtual community. It is harder to carry on conversations and build relationships, but I find a qualities that are unmistakeably human: care, reciprocity, and trust. I am grateful for the daily support I receive in each form of relationship.

Hearts open in time

The reward is worth the wait

We listen deeply.

A place of comfort

The circle invites us in

Its safe reach shelters.

Community calls

Alchemy not formula

Companionship grows.

I found this quote at Circle Toward Wholeness  and it speaks to the circular nature of life and how gifts are constantly received and returned. The quote can also be found at Unitarian Universalist and Circle Fellowship in a more linear form.

Captains of Society

I mentioned when I posted Angry Young Poet there was a second poem I shared from my youth with my students. I softened this one a bit, as it had an angry voice. I know this version sounds pretty harsh, but it is gentler. A recent conversation reminded me how I marginalize voices of those already marginalized. A professor commented he was told by an affluent person that another less fortunate person was a non-entity and the worth of human was measured in material worth. I know this might be isolated, but it troubling and I was reminded of this poem.

Captains of Society

Shallow, superficial, arrogant

Single ambition

Greatness in the eyes of others

Only those with resources can apply

The rest

Forgotten

Pay a high price, but…

It’s their fault

They own their misery.

A cheque to charity

Assuages my conscience

What about the despair?

Don’t care

I claim I do

Donations in good faith, but

It’s a tax receipt

I can really claim, but…

Done on the backs of others

Get the staff to donate time

Not mine.

Increase taxes

Not mine!

No way!

It’s wrong!

Tax others!

What is work?

I create jobs

It’s a spectator sport

This work, which

I manage from afar.

Drive luxury wheels

Shout

Curse

What’s the hold up?

Who’s blocking my way?

The ‘75 Ford station wagon

Engine shot

Dead broke!

Is it their home?

 Throw a party

Drink

Eat

Be merry

No concern for homeless

A romantic notion this ‘hobo jungle’

Not my world

What’s wrong?

It’s not my fault

I gave at the office.

After all.

Throw money at problems

It might help

Don’t

Stop, see, care

If it really helps

Denying, refusing, unfeeling

I pay for a clear conscience

After all.

 The misery

In surround sound…

Is out of sight;

Out of mind

Shoulders by Naomi Shihab Nye and Out of Great Need by Hafiz

I finished reading Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer. It is a wonderful book and, even though he wrote it from an American perspective, it has many universal messages. These poems focus on a message we are in life together-we share, reciprocate, appreciate.

I am reaching the point of settling into the dissertation process. My theme is technology, its implications in learning, mindful practices, and the role of leadership in the use of technology. Today, the responses I received from yesterday’s post, Inspiring Blog Award, was evidence that various social media offer opportunities to build digital community. Gonzaga has a journal club for its doctoral students. We find research articles, read them and summarize key points, and present our understanding as they relate to leadership. I presented one about Virtual Communities of Practice today. A key point is reciprocity or the giving and receiving of gifts. This is not a material gift, but one demonstrated through appreciation for the other when they post or say something online. I was able to share I saw the reciprocity and appreciation fully today. You are part of an emerging phenomenological study.

These poems are for you.

Inspiring Blog Award

Before I post, I wanted to acknowledge inspiration is reciprocal. Each day, with anticipation, I check my email and follow blogs I subscribe to.

I have gained a considerable amount from blogging, but is humbling. When I began, I had few visitors, no likes, and no comments. Gradually, this changed and blogging became rewarding in and of itself as I learned its nuanced context. It is still humbling in two ways. First, when I check creative blogs posted about passions people hold dear, it impresses me with the process and product. Second, I keep it real . Statistically, the blog I follow with the largest following has about 15, 000 followers. This is about 0.000002% of the world’s population and my 300 followers is about 0.00000004%. Against the odds we form a small, appreciative community and share parts of our lives. Thank you.

Thank you Kay Lynté at Thinking is Write for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I am glad to know my blog inspires others, including Kay. I appreciate the gifts others share and in various ways they inspire me in my journey :)

1. Link back to the person who nominated you: Thank you, Kay

2. Post the award image to your page:

3. Tell 7 facts about yourself:

    • I have a fairly large (ice) hockey memorabilia collection.
    • I was a banker before becoming a teacher.
    • I was a single digit handicap golfer before my car accident.
    • I have never seen the Atlantic Ocean live.
    • My best friend is my wife, Kathy
    • I love the Blues and saw John Mayall in concert on Sunday
    • I am a Montreal Canadiens (ice) hockey fan.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know they’ve been nominated:

Waiting for the Karma Truck

Nonoy Manga

The Blazing Trail

Sharmishtha Basu

The Literary Man

Thought Baker

Fun and Fabulousness

Timothy A Cooper

Tracie Louise Photography

Travel Culture Food

Doli Photo

Subhan Zein

The Living Notebook

Wallpaper Tadaka

Leanne Cole Photography

Take care,

Ivon

Mount Hood

It is better to travel than to arrive, it is because traveling is constant arriving – John Dewey.

Kathy and I have spent time in the Portland Oregon area several times. It is such a fun place to visit. One summer we were there we went to Hood River, toured, golfed, and took pictures.

One of our excursions was a ride on the Mount Hood Railroad. I lived the first years plus in a hamlet on the Athabasca River in Alberta. Back in the day, it was a long way to Edmonton by car, but I vaguely recall riding the rails once or twice to go into Edmonton.

This is a working train. When I got back to school, one of my students asked if I knew the gauge of the tracks. I did not and he told me what it was sight unseen. I took him at his word. Another time he asked me if I knew how many penalty minutes a particular player took during an NHL season during the 1960′s. When I looked it up, he was dead on. I cannot remember how many penalty minutes I took in any season, but know I exceeded 100 minutes one season; not bad for a goalie. A favourite artist of mine is Johnny Cash. I enjoyed every element of his career from the Sun Record days to the American Hero days. Here is a song that fits: The Rock Island Line. It comes from his Sun recordings.


At various places you can take pictures of Mount Hood. It is snow-capped year round and has summer skiing on one its faces. I don’t ski, but I used to golf. There is pretty good course on the mountain and we played 27 holes in almost 100 degree heat.

Here is another view.

One of the stops was a museum and this was some of the equipment on display. Reminded me of the farm. There were a variety of old cars, tractors, a caterpillar, and parts of an old planer mill where Kathy’s family farmed.

Hood River is basically on the Columbia River Gorge with other modes of transportation available. The paddle wheel is more a last resort. When we lived on the Athabasca River, my dad built a boat with a Willys Jeep engine as an inboard motor. I impress my mother when I tell her I remember that, about the train rides, our dog, Brownie, and chasing my older brothers through the coal shed and jumping down onto the chopping block underneath the back window.

Some evidence of a way of life that is not totally lost but reshaped by the damming of the Columbia.

The majesty of the end of the day revealed in various colours and shadows.

I am now listening to Johnny Cash singing I’ve Been Everywhere. Not quite, but no reason not to dream and try. There is a Canadian connection to the song. It was originally written by Geoff Mack, an Australian, and recorded by Hank Snow, a Canadian, using North American place names.

Tuned In and Fired Up

I mentioned this book in Culture of Peace and Angry Young Poet. It was worth a read. I start with a haiku which emerged from the book.

 

Who stretches the teacher?

Journey into their essence

Reveal the learner.

I read Tuned In and Fired Up by Sam Intrator for two reasons: as a teacher and as a graduate student preparing for the dissertation process. Sam contributes to the work of the Centre for Courage and Renewal which based on Parker Palmer’s writings and thinking.

The book is enjoyable, informative, and motivating. Teachers need to take time and pause, reflect upon, and recall the reasons they were called to teaching. There are alchemical moments of discovery we artfully use and define teacher, students, and subject. It is surreal and its magic can never be underestimated as the three blends into a single whole and respects individual integrity.

Part of the magic in this book is Mr. Quinn, the teacher. He took risks and students tuned in and fired up to his genuine presence. Parker Palmer, in The Courage to Teach, suggested “teaching is always done at the most dangerous intersection of personal and private life” (p. 18). Mr. Quinn’s teaching was learning and realized he could wrong. The magical aspect takes a teacher onto the boundary and, then, into uncharted waters. Good teachers take that risk and students sense it.

Towards the end Sam cited William Ayers: “Since teaching is always a search for better teaching, I am still in a fundamental sense becoming a teacher. I am stretching, searching, and reaching toward teaching” (p. 134). This is a virtuous cycle of learning-teaching-learning to infinity.

Sam leaves the reader with an incredible list of those things teachers can reflect upon and use according to their setting. Many are well-known: cultivate rapport with students, compete tenaciously for their attention, and spark their desire to create. Others were ones I felt were lesser known: embrace your role as a performer, tap into their senses, and acknowledge boring. That last one is challenging. At the adolescent level, treat them like they are becoming adults.

Questions: A concern expressed by Sam was a need for genuine collaboration. What practices do you use in your workplace or learning that foster collaboration between adults? If you teach, what ways do you include students?

Recommendation: I loved the book and let me leave you with just two ways. It was easy to read without losing meaning. Sam used simplexity and achieved his aims. Second, he left a thorough recipe without the quantities. I need to figure those out with students and subject.

Intrator, S. M. (2003). Tune in and fired up: How teaching can inspire real learning in the classroom. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Palmer, P. J. (2007). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Sabbaths by Wendell Berry

What do I gain from taking a break; disconnect to reconnect? I think this poem speaks volumes. Jay F. Smith contributed the idea for this poem along with a brief reflective essay in Leading from Within.

In his essay, Rev. Smith indicated the Sabbath mood is “a mood resulting from a deep sense of knowing that no matter what the immediate visible, tangible, measurable ‘results’ may be, [something bigger than me] God is at work in the world” (p. 114).

Whatever is foreseen in joy

Must be lived out from day to day.

Vision held open in the dark

By our ten thousand days of work.

Harvest will fill the barn; for that

The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled

By work of ours; the field is tilled

And left to grace. That we may reap,

Great work is done while we’re sleeping.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood

Rests on our day, and finds it good.

Berry, W. (2007).  Sabbaths.  In S. M. Intrator and M. Scribner (Eds.), Leading from within: Poetry that sustains the courage to lead (pp. 115). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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