My Java Journal

A Walk, A Teacher, A Moment, And A Memory

I have been trying to take a nightly walk of late. I used to take great pleasure in walking our dog, Jada, at night; especially in the winter. I still enjoy walking at night. Living in the south of Ottawa, I am just far enough from the city to get a decent view of the stars as the light pollution is not so bad. Not dark enough for viewing the Milky Way, but definitely better than being in the city. My views of Cassiopeia, and Orion are easy; and spectacular!

The days are longer now so I am sometimes getting my walk in before the night sky snuffs the sun, but the walk is still enjoyable. I always keep the offer open to my family to join me. They generally don’t; everyone is busy and uses their downtime differently. My youngest daughter did, however, recently join me.

The rains had stopped and the temperature was perfect. The threat of bad weather was constant that day, but the clouds broke, the sun appeared, and it was beautiful. It was slightly damp, just cool enough to break the humidity, the greens were spectacular. The birds were out, robins mostly. There are no bugs just yet and the Spring is new enough to still be novel.

We walked maybe 40 minutes. What I like most about these walks when with someone, and especially my kids, is that they just start talking. I absolutely love their ramblings, and delight in following where the story drifts. Sometimes it takes a little bit before the ramblings begin; this time she started sharing immediately. I just listened.

Her primary tale was about her math class and math teacher. She shared how there was very little actual math this day, and that the teacher spoke instead about pollution, and the waste and damage being done to the planet. Given how the story unfolded, I suspect that he was relating this to math by discussing the span of Earth’s existence and how long it takes for plastics to be reclaimed by our Mother Earth. Certainly, he spoke to our responsibility to the planet. It had an impact on her. Earlier in the day, and prior to this walk, my daughter and I stopped by the grocery store to get some vegetables for dinner and she asserted that we should not use any [plastic] bags. She was adamant. I conceded, and we walked out with our groceries cradled in our arms. I was proud of her.

These kind of moments with my kids are some of my favourite in life. It got me thinking about an experience I had in middle school, likely grade 7, that was similar to my daughter’s account. I recall having a substitute teacher at one point that took a similar tact. The teacher, maybe because he was a substitute, was losing the interest of the class. I think he sensed this, and he started to tell a story. It was related to the subject, and to emphasize his teaching point he recounted the final hockey game of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the USSR.

He drew out on the chalk board, in great detail, and with obvious passion, how Paul Henderson was tripped up and consequently not covered by the Russian team, which put him in position to make that pivotal winning goal. Speaking to how had Henderson not been hit, and had he remained in play and in position, he explained how the Russian coverage likely would have never opened up his opportunity to score. He spoke about fate and how somethings outside one’s control can have significant impact. Perhaps, although I don’t recall, he was suggesting that, like Henderson, we stay aware of these opportunities, and ready to capitalize on them.

He got the classes attention, tied his story and teaching points together, and, clearly, left an impression. Impressive. Of all the things I learned in grade 7, this single class resonates soundly; and I can say is one of the key, and clear memories I easily recall from that period of my life.

So I suppose what I am doing here is saying, “thank you,” to my daughter’s teacher for creating a memorable teaching moment for her. One that stuck and had an impact. Selfishly, I am also grateful that it gave me another great experience and memory with my daughter.


Have a wonderful day, and remember to come out this Saturday for the first ever Class of 91 show at Anabia Cupcakery Cafe. The show starts around 7pm and we will be fundraising for SickKids in the fight against kids’ cancer.

“In Every Walk In Nature One Receives Far More Than He Seeks.” – John Muir