Monday Morning Musings

Posted on August 3, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments




“See you, in September?


Have you ever woken up in the morning and wondered what the hell just happened?

To be honest, the last twelve months of my life have felt like this. The past 365 days have provided a dizzying array of experiences. There have been highs and lows. There has been joy and sorrow, laughter and tears and an array of other emotions that I have yet to be able to define. There have been events in my home province and around the world that have left me shaken and shaking my head.

I know one thing for certain. I am alive and well. Changed and a bit scarred but aren’t we all?

I am paddling my canoe solo as I embark on the next chapter of my life.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think a year ago that I would resume my teaching career after a brief (!) 40- year hiatus. Nor did I think that the return to the classroom would happen in a northern Inuit community. Such is the complete unpredictable nature of life. And isn’t that grand?

Yesterday, after countless hours and six flights, I arrived back in Kangiqsujuaq, Quebec. I’ll give you a few minutes to Google this, but the village is located near the northern tip of the province on the Ungava Bay. When I stepped off the plane, I felt like I was returning home. “And that, is a good thing” as Martha Stewart often opines.

After spending four days in Montreal completing (and passing!) my Covid-19 test, I now must self-isolate for 14 days. I know the drill having done this in late March when we were sent home once the pandemic got a foothold in every corner of the world. One piece of very good news is that we will be allowed to go out and walk on the tundra after day 4. This is a huge gift especially for one who enjoys walking.

When I arrived at my apartment, I was greeted with a bag of groceries on my doorstep from a friend and colleague, Marion. After a very long day with no meals other than breakfast at 4:30 a.m., I nearly ate the frozen lasgana without heating it up. In my freezer, I discovered some frozen cookies that I had made prior to leaving. Lasagna plus cookies and milk. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this! My sincere thanks to Marion for her kindness and generosity.

After unpacking and eating supper, I curled up on the couch to finish an excellent book that I had been reading on the plane. If you’re a cycling enthusiast or even if you’re not, Road to Valour by Aili and Andres McConnon is the true story of a famous Italian cyclist set in World War 2. I only had 10 pages left in the book and I wanted to finish it before going to bed.

Do you know what it means to bonk? Get your mind out of the gutter! I don’t mean that kind of bonking! In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk is a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy which is caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. As some of you know, I ran a few marathons including Boston twice. I never officially bonked because if I had, I would not have been able to finish these races. When you bonk, you’re done, and no amount of mental fortitude will do you a damn bit of good. You may want to go on, but your body will not allow you to continue.

I read page 247 and then I read it again. You get the picture. I think it took me an hour to read the last 10 pages of the book. I had bonked. I could scarcely drag my pandemic pound- laden hulk to the bedroom. I knew that going to bed this early would cost me a very early wakening. I was pleasantly surprised when I rolled over and saw that it was morning as daylight flooded my room with light. I turned on my phone to discover that it was 4:00 a.m. Unlike the middle of winter up here when you go to bed in the dark and get up in the dark, in the summer it’s just the opposite. I still felt quite fatigued and decided to roll over. Three hours later, I woke for the second time. I don’t ever recall sleeping 11 hours.

Before I end yet another vacuous piece of writing, I have to say a word about masks. I wore one yesterday for 11 hours. A few times, I felt overheated and mildly claustrophobic. My thought immediately turned to health care professionals. Any of us mere mortals who complain about wearing a mask need a good swift kick in the arse. Every day, health care professionals have to don masks for 12- hour shifts and more. In addition to the discomfort they must feel, they are also putting themselves at risk. Putting on a mask while you shop for groceries is not a hardship or inconvenience. It’s just the right thing to do.

As I write this, I can hear the mournful wail of a pack of sled dogs out on the tundra. I know that I am home.

Have a great week.

P.S. It is unlikely that I will be able to do “Pillow Talk North” any time soon. My internet connection is quite weak especially for video. When I have access to the school, I might try it from there.

P.P.S. School is supposed to start on August 10th but that will not happen. The last wave of teachers won’t arrive here until late August and it won’t be September before they finish their isolation. There’s also construction going on in our school.

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Tri Mac Toyota!

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