Stories Change the World

Capitol Hill School Spring 2019

They do!

Through all the colour and movement, the message is laced with hope and wonder.  People listen with their hearts and minds sensitive to what they are experiencing viscerally as they watch the children.  Their perceptions shift.  

That is called “change”!!!

Brave grade ½ teachers and their students at Capitol Hill School have dared to find meaningful stories using the animals of Alberta through the ancient way of storytelling—voice, body and imagination! Shy Bear finds bravery and self worth. Blind Wolf is blessed with a deaf companion that leads her into self-actualization.  Coyote finds the gift of humility and Barred Owl celebrates her independence strengthened by her own convictions. 

There, I said it.  This is the work that keeps me alive!

In three short lessons these co-creators have already mapped out their journeys.  Tomorrow we will transcend them with my trademark cloth, hoop and shield motifs. We are ready to hit the next level! This is grade ½ people!!!  The Spirit Guides have contrast, purpose and personal stamps.  Awesome!

How does this happen?

Open and willing teachers have FOLLOWED THROUGH with specific cross curriculum references making MY lessons richer from what THEY provide! 

Students are CONNECTED and COMMITTED!  They ALREADY know behaviours of their animals, how aspen tree groves send messages to each other and that some wild plants have medicinal properties.  They respectfully speak of nature’s profound affect on all of us. Ms. Lana is blown away! 

Sample: (from the Wild Horse Story)

Wild Horse moved slowly through the pine and aspen trees.  The aspen tree roots were connected.  They sent a message out to the forest.  

“Wild Horse needs help,” they said to each other.

Hide here!” said an animal Spirit Guide from a tree.

Wild Horse hid in the rocks.

The animal Spirit Guide presented a riddle.

“What has a bed but doesn’t sleep? What runs but doesn’t walk?”

“A river,” said the Wild Horse.

“Go there for an answer,” said the Spirit Guide.

Sample: (from The Bear Story)

“Stand your ground,” said a voice.

Bear felt confident.

Bear defended Deer.  He put Deer behind him.

He looked at the rival bear and made a strong body.

He stared at the bear for ten hours until it left.

We are continuing to celebrate the rich diverse landscape of Alberta that has spoken to their hearts with descriptive language and detailed imagery.  I can’t wait to see what these storytellers will teach me! This is my home, in that sacred circle of creativity!



Where did it go?

I know process is essential.

I know that stories take time.

I know that creation is messy business.

I know that!

I know the more I know the less I know.

I know one step forward can mean two steps back.

I know it’s not over until it’s over.

I know that!

I know that you know what I know.

I know that I know what you know.

I know “the universe is unfolding as it should”. (Thanks “Desiderata”!)

I know that!

Then, why am I sooooooo impaaaatiiiieennnnnt?

I trudged through the valley near my house.  

Coerced by a dear friend for my nightly waddle, we descended.

My eyes were scanning the grey brown hills and leafless trees.  I was desperate to see ANYTHING that gave me a hint of SPRING!  Cold clouds dulled the sky as the wind picked up and then, I gasped!  There they were!  I had missed them so many times before.  These beautiful fleeting marvels were better than roses from this prairie girl’s perspective. Just look at them!  

I returned home and attacked my work with gusto!  Imagine.  That was all I needed, a prairie crocus to cheer me up.  The energy buoyed me until the next day.  I started to design my PSA for schools next year.  After quickly sending off the template to the printer I zoomed to pick them up by the end of the day!  Now, I am on my game!  What? Look at what?  Oh no!  Noooooo!!! A typo?  Are you kidding me?


Where did it go?

I know that process is essential…….I think you get the drift.



My sister and I took a trip to the Leighton Centre.  

The rustle of dried grasses soothed us as we meandered finding treasures from the season’s change. Tufts of coarse white deer hair shed from winter coats caught on low hanging rose branches, patches of green grass were determined to awaken in the hard soil and the caw of crows from a nearby balsam poplar reminded us of our childhood days in southern Saskatchewan where there was room to wander. Bliss! Caryl has always known where to look for inspiration and I always have followed willingly.  More stories to come about that! Hahaha!  She is a very significant touchstone for me.

Surrounded by the children from the Montessori School of Calgary, I raised my wounded left arm up in the air and hugged as many as I could with my right. What a love festival!  Why does this feel like home?  Probably because of the reception—so warm and genuine!  

I sat in an empty room awaiting the kindergarten children.  A repairman entered and smiled, “Nice, isn’t it?  The quiet?”  I grinned.  Oh it was and then, the energy shifted and I was on a journey again with a special gift of three stones for each child.  They had to choose which stone was from a mountain, which one was from a riverbed AND which one was part of a meteorite that landed on earth!!!  They loved the boxes where their special objects will be collected.  Creation welcomed us back again with a delicate thread of a story to pursue. Children are an imperative touchstone in my world.

The sky has darkened and responsibilities of tomorrow loom.  Then I watch the beautiful night unfold. Varying shades of blue watercolour ribbon layers glow as the sun offers one last hint before it sets. The sky has always been my touchstone. I concentrate on a space in between tree branches. I breathe out the chatter in my head and breathe in an idea. 

My touchstones have worked their magic.  I reach for a pencil.  Words flow.