Algonquin Highlands Writers

Mukin Mutaal: Last Sunset of 2020

 Last Sunset of 2020

 When I was young, very young in the 60s, I recall how I wondered if I will be alive to see 2000. And how it will feel about writing the year that does not have 19 in it. 

 Today it has been 20 years since 2000 has passed. And one-fifth of 21st century is ending by the end of this day

 Now I am thinking about how it will feel to see 2050. What about 2100?

Who knows what is possible and what is not. And in what way? 

 Are we just our bodies? Or there is more?

 The depth of the mystery of life is way beyond the numbers conjured by the shrewdness of the human brain. 

The calendars, the clocks, the time captured in the frames created by mind. 

 Is there really a thing called time? 

 What is time anyways when the mathematics of Einstein shows that it can be turned backward.

 But we all know it does not turn back the way things move.

The same water does not run under the bridge twice.

So either the math of relativity theory is wrong, or it just shows that time is an invention of human ingenuity to organize itself in the societal fabric.

 If we had no civilization, will we need time? We will not have crops to sow and harvest. We will not have to keep track of seasons. If we had no commerce and ships to sail, who will need to keep track of time. 

 That is how human consciousness works.

Once our forefather and foremother, Adam and Eve, ate the apple from the tree of knowledge, we became the tools of consciousness that creates all kinds of webs, and they are only like cobwebs in the bigger scheme of things. That is why they were warned to not eat from the tree of knowledge. 

 The heaven of natural living was sacrificed at the altar of the consciousness, which had rebelled as it wanted to manifest itself. 

So here we are. Our eternal dilemma that stares straight into our eyes is how after foraging the pasture of consciousness for millions of years, we can bring back a balance to our existence. A balance where the consciousness grows beyond the mechanics of existence and move into the biology of living. 

 The 2020 of the Gregorian calendar is only a small mark on a long unmeasurable path that we are traversing.

 And so are the other calendars that various civilizations have developed, forgotten or layered over by the calendar of the dominant culture in this world of infinite diversity. 

 By Mukin Mutaal

December 31, 2020

 

 

Creative Writers Write!

Welcome all who send me their writings from our Algonquin Highlands Writers Circle. During this time when we cannot meet, especially, you are welcome to post your writings here by sending them to me first; then other circle members can offer comments.

Jane Braithwaite's Speech

Our Changing World - Education is the Key

 

Children are our most precious gifts!

Like seeds BURSTING with potential,

born to grow, to flourish, to blossom.  



Children require nurturing caregivers, like gardeners, who passionately tend their gardens daily.



Children are inquisitive, full of questions,

no preconceived ideas.They like who they are and feel good about themselves.

 

Until…

 

Until what?

 

Until their roots are damaged by outside forces.

 

Put downs

Misconceptions

Exclusion

 

Blossoms die.

                      

I left occasional teaching  in an ethnically diverse city  in the late 90s to

teach occasionally in an ethnically starved City.  

 

Shortly after my move I had a kindergarten assignment. I met the kinders at the outside door and took the leader’s hand. I 

led the class down the hall to their room. We were nearing the classroom when I heard a little voice ask me “Are you dirty? Why are you that colour?” I looked down. The child who’s hand I was holding was carefully studying the back of my hand. “No”, I replied, unabashed,  “I am not dirty and if you wait ,I will tell the whole class why I am this colour.” 

 

Can you walk in the shoes of a 4 or 5 year old Black child? Could  you imagine how they would feel fending those questions? 

 

After we had finished  morning classroom routines I gathered the students on the carpet in front of me and proceeded to give them an age appropriate African history lesson. 

                             2

 

I am happy when students ask me questions about my race. Those are the teachable moments I relish.

 

Education has changed. Diversity is included in the curriculum..  (Whiteway)



I remember my grade 7 social studies teacher in the 60s, during the civil rights days in the U.S. He thought the world would be better if everyone was beige. Hmmm? 

Bor- rrring. 

 

Thank goodness times have changed. Celebrating diversity builds strong self confidence roots. Diversity makes a beautiful garden!

 

I live in Canada’s  most diverse province. In 2009 the Ministry of Education launched an Equity and Inclusive Education Plan..

 

 Equity  recognizes  we all don’t start from the same place and acknowledges fairness as treating people differently according to their needs.




The plan created an education system,  fairer and more inclusive for all students, educators and staff, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other factor related to individual identity.”

 

Today’s curriculum is more  inclusive than it has ever been as a result of that plan. 

 

I clearly remember teaching  a grade 6 math class.  I asked the students to take out their math textbooks and turn to the lesson their teacher had left for them. 

 

All of a sudden I heard a student shout “Look!  He’s wearing a turban”  That was the first time I had seen a South Asian person in a textbook.. The student who yelled out BTW was the only South Asian student in the class.  

 

I GOT IT! I empathized with that student. I knew exactly why they couldn’t contain themself. I attended school in the 50s and 60s. I never saw anyone looking like me in a textbook.  






                        3

 

There is more to this story.  WHO DO YOU THINK THE  MATH TEACHER LOOKED LIKE? 

 

I WAITED 60 PLUS YEARS TO SEE MYSELF IN A TEXTBOOK.! 

 

IMAGINE! A BLACK MATH TEACHER WITH AN AFROAND  she waswearing glasses. It was surreal!  When I said I had never seen myself in a textbook I meant a Black person.. Never in my wildest dreams would I have considered seeing my real self  as a teacher in a text book. 

 

There was a student in a wheelchair in that same math lesson.   THAT’S WHAT INCLUSIVE EDUCATION LOOKS LIKE AND FEELS LIKE.



February is Black History Month in Canada. It’s  the celebration of the  achievements, accomplishments and contributions to the world made by people of African descent .

 

Schools now celebrate it. A warm feeling floods through me when I walk into schools with visual signs of Black History Month. I see Black students stand a little taller and bloom brighter when they learn about the achievements of their people. 

 

 YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL FEB  to Attend a Black event, watch a Black documentary, read a black author,  or do anything to learn more about Black people. Some day there will be no need for a  Black History Month. 



Our world IS changing. People who were never seen years ago are now becoming part of the mainstream. There is still room for more inclusion.  I have faith in this generation, ROOTED in inclusive education, to make  space for everyone. 

 

Nobel Peace prize winner Nelson Mandela said “Education is the greatest weapon we have to change the world’  




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12.02 | 08:41

Hi Laurie, You will find The Choice on amazon.ca//

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18.10 | 18:29

Thanks, Mike...so glad you found it here. I think it's remarkable. Holly's grandmother is one of my long and close friends; it was she who sent it.

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18.10 | 17:38

Thanks for posting this. I heard it read from Abbey Theatre in their "Dear Ireland" and was hoping that I would find it on the web. I thought it stole the show.

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03.03 | 17:19

Laurie...I might have my copy and will look for it. Otherwise...order from Amazon.
It is beyond inspiring. I will let you know. It's on kindle too.

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