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I wrote this poetry and took these pictures on a trip to British Columbia with Kathy via Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park. It was for my mother’s 88th birthday and, at that point in her life, each birthday was an important event. She was the last of her generation in our family, on both sides.

I took pictures of two flowers common to temperate areas in North America: Fireweed and Paintbrush. Fireweed is hardy and is often found in areas which were disturbed by fire or oil spills generally spreading out in open areas left behind. It is part of the first step in ecological succession.


Appearing amidst destruction,



Inviting to embrace.

Filling alpine meadows,

Colouring once damaged landscapes,

Lighting paths,

Giving hope.

The Indian Paintbrush or Prairie-Fire is widespread and was used by Indigenous peoples for food, hair conditioner, and to treat rheumatism. This is an example of the coastal variety.

Painting the world alive,



Off Nature’s palette,

Dancing vibrantly,

Living colours.

During these times with the COVID-19 health crisis, which revealed the deep social, economic, and political fissures in our world and the social activism emerging after the murder of George Floyd, Canada has to take time to look at its own history and treatment of marginalized peoples. This begins, but does not end, with how we treated and continue to treat First Nations’ people. This is a song by a local singer-songwriter, Connie Kaldor, who sings poignantly about the murdered and missing indigenous women across Canada. The report, completed in June 2019, had over 90 recommendations, which have not been acted on. In Canada, protests against systemic racism highlight this lack of action.



About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

19 responses »

  1. I like that song!

    PS — Ivon, you are the only person in the world who reads my old posts and I thought I would let you know that I have noticed that fact and appreciate it!

    • I love all the photos and stories. It appears to be a family effort across geneations, so that is neat to see. You travel to places I have not been to, so it is a way to travel to places I might not get to.

  2. Wonderful post – agree with descriptions of plants (Eastern Plains of Colorado/Great Plains/rocky mountain area soul, are I…) and…yes, so glad to hear of the renewed efforts in your neck of the woods to stand with those disenfranchised/marginalized for way to long. The world may seem in chaos, but to me, when I read posts such as yours, I feel hopeful – even in face of sometimes ‘knee-jerk, didn’t even listen’ reactions from those in my ‘sphere’ that I would have least suspected such a response from – sigh – wading into the chaos, not letting the chaos overwhelm one on any front, to me, tonight, once again, leaves me thinking, “not for the feint of heart” on any front, but, I still hold out hope that strong, courageous folks across many fronts will continue to show up and stand strong in big and little ways – to help overall, our various regions and worlds to finally break through the upper limits of chaos, to be born into a ‘next step better’ world – without laying what is good to waste along with what is no longer acceptable on so many fronts, but can with pressure, and fear and pressure, be ignored and ‘swept under the rug’ by those who have a vested interest in doing so. sigh – I surely don’t know all the depth of heartache for every long and/or currently under massive front – nor do I know the ‘answer’ for many fronts – but I surely needed to see yet another voice in the world online that posts beauty, educates and then, gently says, “BTW – this is going on here, and I’m not okay with it” – :). I still believe in ‘tipping points’ and I still believe each wave that goes by, we are quickly reaching the point where long and true lasting change towards better can be accomplished – –

    • Thank you TamrahJo for a wonderful comment. I read Parker Palmer quite a bit and his pedagogy informs my teaching and my life. I find his message is one filled with hope and it informs me in that way. I think we need hope to give the next generation, our grandchildren, a sense of hope for the world.

      • AWESOME! I popped over to Goodreads to check out Parker J Palmer’s works/quotes, and now..well….I hope I can order in from the library – some of the quotes shared, etc., I thinking I might become a fan, too, when I actually get in and can start reading it – :). Thanks so much for the ‘point in a direction’ I’m inspired to explore… 🙂

      • THANK YOU!!! My break is nearly over, and back to work ( I have a real hard-arse for a boss – alas, I’m self-employed…LOL) but thus far, while exploring his site – this is my current YES! fave – –

      • I had the good fortune to meet Parker several years ago and he is as wonderful a human as I have come across.

  3. 🤓☺️ yes Ivon…I feel like those are the same exact flowers I’ve seen…went to see our daughter and starseed by car and indeed we can do better…transformation is possible…lovely post…thank you Hedy ☺️

    • Thank you Hedy. The drive to Prince George is a scenic one with flowers, mountains, and occasional animals. Now that my mother has passed away, we do not go as often.

      We have seen Connie Kaldor a couple of times at the Northern Lights Folk Club and have some CD’s. The club rarely ever disappoints with its bookings and Connie is no exception.

  4. ps. Connie Kaldor is a wonderful human ✌️it’s a powerful song for sure

  5. “Painting the world alive…” indeed. Power in your words, and power in the simplicity of that song.

  6. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  7. Amazing fact I didn’t know about Indian paintbrush! Good post, love the music. 💎


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