Heading back…

…to school? Normality? Civilized discourse in politics?

The lead photograph this week is sadder than it looks. If you’re me. And I am. Me. I was in the office, busily counting paperclips and preparing for the new school year, when my phone rang.

“Can you see us?”

“Hey! Old man? Look out your window – can you see us?”

Two colleagues were puttering down the channel and out to the ocean, heading to a remote camp, to pick up a skiff and tow it back so we’d have another little boat to use for brushing up our nautical skills. Definitely education related, so why wasn’t I on board, heading out to the Broken Islands and beyond, on a warm and sunny day? Good question, so I asked it:

“Picking up the skiff and towing it back so we’ll have another little boat to use to brush up nautical skills? Definitely education related, so shouldn’t I be on board?” – in a whiny voice, because that always works.

“Is it your turn again? You grabbed the kayaking gig last week, remember? Oh stop snivelling – if you can swim out to us before we go past, you can come!”

Earlier in the week

I could have done that, and easily, but, you know, paperclips…

I was so happy to hear they had a brilliant day, picking up the skiff, stopping for a picnic lunch at the camp, then heading back escorted by four – four! – orcas. I organized the red and blue paperclips, and I’m totally prepared for the new school year.

Oh yes, the new school year. All pandemic plans are in place, with gallons and gallons of hand sanitizer situated in strategic locations, signage has gone up, arrows have been laid down, instructions have been printed and distributed. What could possibly go wrong? Young and not so young students will learn to follow bus and class seating plans, use appropriate mask etiquette and remain suitably distanced until a vaccine is ready, because, well, it’ll be good to try and have something resembling normal. For as long as it lasts…

Also taken earlier this week

Setting fears of a second wave to one side, I’m impressed by the effort and dedication educators have put in, in trying to meet this pandemic moment. If things go awry, it won’t be due to a lack of caring or commitment. Hats off. Let’s not use educators or children as a pandemic political football.

Right, I’d best leave it here. Four orcas! Four! I’ve dropped a paperclip, a blue one since you were wondering, and I know there’ll be a situation down the road that’ll stand or fall for the want of a paperclip.

If you’re about to return to school, have returned, or find yourself connected to folks working in schools, I hope it’s going well for you. Take care out there. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend.

Published by


I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

13 thoughts on “Heading back…”

  1. Beautiful boat pics, resting at bay! As for hustling paperclips, I won’t be heading back to the school this fall, but I sympathize with all of you who work an equivalent of four orcas in the classroom. Thank you, Adam..


  2. I love your contemplations as you arrange your paper clips, Adam. Good luck with your new year. Your gorgeous photos make me yearn for clear skies. Four orcas! There is goodness to be found. 🌎


  3. I sincerely hope that bringing students back together will NOT provide the environment to spread Covid-19 and make the situation worse. However, I haven’t seen too much evidence of the contrary though. So, I’ll just hope and wish the best for you, your students, and your community. UB


  4. Between the phone call and “old man” comment, I think you definitely should have showed them and swam out to join them for the wonderful day. Orcas vs. paperclips is a tough one, I thought it was a difficult choice today between watching Tottenham lose (brilliant goal by Everton) over binge-watching my latest obsession (Karl Urban) in The Boys on Amazon. While our news is extremely depressing, I have been impressed by all the plans being attempted to hope children could return to the classroom, but with cases spiking I’m not sure how long it’s going to last over here. I’m hoping for the best for your school year and thanks for sharing the paperclip laughs and beautiful blue skies and photos this week (really would have been a perfect week to be out on a boat – I’m sure you could have convinced someone you could organize the paperclips on board)!!


    1. Yes, I think I could have made that swim out to the boat. Thirty years ago!
      Everton got off to a good start, but it’s hard to say how they might fare this season, because Spurs really were surprisingly poor. Mourinho has his work cut out, that’s for sure. I hope Spurs don’t sack him and come in for Ancelotti!
      The school start has been a challenge, and until there is a reliable vaccine, we are all keeping fingers crossed for staying safe. Yikes…
      Enjoy your week!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really appreciated this post for the description of the school preparations. Yes, indeed, hats off to educators every year, but espec. this year, and that goes for you, too, PC. Fun juxtaposition of the paper clips and your comrades. Good luck in the weeks ahead, and may the beauty and adventure of orcas always surround you.


    1. Schools are open for the time being, and all is chugging along in slightly strange new ways. More distance learning and supporting families with online education keeps things interesting. All being well, I’m off on a week long wilderness first aid trip next week, learning alongside young adventurers, and if we’re fortunate, we could spot an orca or two. I’m bringing along some paperclips, as I’m convinced they’d be an emergency fishhook – or gruesome sewing kit?

      Liked by 1 person

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