Time Traveling: Colonial Williamsburg

September 29, 2016

Phone Calls and Extra Batteries

September 11, 2016

Today marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and I find myself consciously shutting off news stories, avoiding dreaded images, or actively re-directing conversations about it. Previous anniversaries of this date have never really had much of an impact on me, but for some reason today felt different. And this evening it hit me. It has to do with my dad.

My dad was no where near the twin towers, on a plane, or any where near the Pentagon. On that September day, my dad was in south Louisiana and I was in Washington state. And yet he will always be apart of my memories on that tragic day. It was early on the West Coast and my dad called to make sure we were awake and aware of what was happening. He wasn't the first person to alert us, but he was the one I spoke with the longest that morning. We were on the phone together as the second tower fell. My dad seemed to quickly grasp that our country was about to go into an intense tail spin. In between trying to calm me down, he began to switch into survivalist mode. Trying to figure out ways we could stay in touch if the phones shut down or who we could each contact if we were in trouble. He wanted me to make sure we had batteries and extra water. His response sent me into a bit of my own internal tailspin with dueling emotions...comfort that someone seemed to have some ideas for a plan and fear that things were about to get much worse. 

I think today's anniversary hit me because it was a harsh reminder that I can no longer pick up the phone to call my dad when bad things happen. I feel a bit of guilt to think that my reaction today is about grief that isn't even directly related to today's anniversary. And yet, isn't that at the core of today? Reminders of loss, reminders of life continuing to happen, reminders of fear and uncertainty, and a reminder that we were all a bit changed on that day fifteen years ago. And perhaps most importantly our universal human need to be connected, comforted, and protected. 

Yaocomaco and Piscataway Tribes of Maryland

September 10, 2016

 This year we are plunging into a study of Early American History and planning to take full advantage of the plethora of local historical sites. And that is why Camille and I got up early on a Saturday morning; packed the car with sunscreen, water bottles, a pile of audio books; made two quick pit stops to get freshly made doughnuts and traveling necessities (Twizzlers and Doritos); and hit the road for Historic St. Mary's City. We were hoping to make it in time to participate in their Native American Discovery Day. And as we were making the nearly two hour drive there I found myself hoping that it would be worth the drive. As soon as we arrived, it was clear to see that it was well worth the drive.  

We quickly jumped into doing a variety of hands-on activities: fire building, creating pinch pots with local clay, carving soapstone beads, and making a pokean (Native American hacky-sack made with corn husks, feathers, and beads). We learned about the native plants and food sources. Shot arrows. Helped to build mats from reeds that were collected that morning to add to the rooftops of the re-created Yaocomaco witchotts (longhouses). St. Mary's City, the first capital of Maryland, was established on the grounds of a Yaocomaco settlement. 

One of the highlights of the day was watching the Tayac Territory Singers and Dancers, members of the Piscataway Indian Nation, led by Mark Tayac son of the current hereditary chief, Chief Billy Tayac. It was hard not to be entranced by their beautiful outfits and their voices singing in Algonquin Piscataway while drumming and dancing. The Piscataway were one of the most populous and powerful tribes in the Chesapeake Bay region north of the Potomac. It was an honor to see them sharing their history and culture today. Want to learn more about the Piscataway? Meet Naiche is a good place to start. 


September 4, 2016

I took a ton of photos during our time in Montreal and yet, this is the one I keep going back to. Don't get me wrong. We loved all of the fabulous museums, the delicious pockets of interesting neighborhoods, the bagels, the urban ziplining, the local radio stations, and the friendly vibe. But for some reason, this pic is the one that I am choosing from our time in the city. Nothing fancy about it with weeds growing through the cracks, a hodgepodge of tin and concrete, and umbrellas akimbo; however, it is also filled with pops of colors, interesting textures, and real-life grit. After our time in quaint Quebec City, it was actually kind of refreshing to be in a "real" city focused more on living than performing or charming. So glad we decided to do both Montreal and Quebec City for a bit of yin/yang experience.

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