Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sincere Thanks to our Blackfeet Friends

U.N. Millennium Service Goals Contributions by this team: 120 hours elder care; 216 hours labor toward improvements to alleviate poverty; 20 hours outreach for nutrition and health. In addition, we provided 63 hours direct administrative and clerical support of cultural education.

Final Service day: written by Anita, Woodville, WI

Sierra, Sherry and David to Eagle Shield – Sierra to ride the meal van, Sherry to serve dinner, and David to work and converse with Frank, who discussed his recycling program for Browning and to take David to visit a Buffalo jump.
Justin, Jeni, Erica and Jamie to Blackfeet Care Center – to work the dirt and to entertain the residents. Todd and Tim to the Community College – to work some construction project.
Peg- to drive and assist Fran├žoise in meeting our host leaders and to familiarize herself with Browning. Maureen and Anita at the Head Start complex – to clean up and later to tour the hospital, along with Justin.

We gathered for supper at the Care Center and ate heartily the Indian Tacos. Carol was wonderful in explaining the ancestral ratios needed for the Blackfeet Indians to gain some Reservation revenue and why they are poverty-stricken. After eating, the 56th Global Volunteers team to Browning, MT presented a talent show to the Care Center residents during their supper. Here is the order of talent; by Jeni, Master of Ceremonies:

1) Tim – juggling three pins, three balls
2) Jeni – yoga poses x 3
3) Erica – piano solo x 2 songs
4) Jamie – song solo – “On Top of Spaghetti”
5) Francoise – song solo – “Dans le jardin de mon pere / in my father’s garden.”
6) David – recital of a poem he composed during this week – Montana Time Line
7) Justin,Jamie, Peg Maureen – a song with revised words to, “It’s a Small World After All.” And joined by other team members in the chorus lines.

After goodbyes were shared with the residents, the team said farewell to David, Sherry, Tim and Erica Staub and wished them well on their trip back to Great Falls, MT and on to Davenport, IA. The rest of the team returned to Head Start and prepared ourselves for the next morning departure. We were surprised and pleased with Sam and his wife, Lisa and smallest child, Brennan, when they visited us at 10:30PM and wished us goodbye. We all appreciated Sam in being our driver and introducing us to Blackfeet traditions.

Sat., June 20, 2009
Return to our lives, with our familiar family and friends and places we live and work and play….many of us experienced a bit of a “culture shock.” Thank you, Global Volunteers, for the opportunity to be a Service Learner.

This experience met my goals and each of you contributed wonderfully to this first, and I hope future, volunteer trip. I am entering the decade of my 60’s and I want to become a worthy elder. My 60th birthday was June 14 and I was happy to share it with you.

“OKI”….I never learned the Blackfeet word for goodbye…..

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Getting to Know You"

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: given by Tim (from Davenport, IA)
(From Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson)
Chp. 15 introduction: “Not hammer-strokes, but dance of the water, sings the pebbles into perfection.”
**Global Volunteers are part of the continuum in completing projects for their hosts. **

JOURNAL ENTRY: written by Todd (from Jeffersonville, IN)

It’s funny –living with strangers. Time truly is a trickster. He possesses a supernatural ability that allows him to manipulate environments, intensify experiences, and distort reason. That’s not a bad thing: in a brief span of time friendships are kindled, bonds are formed, circles are connected….has it only been a week? And it was Jamie who reminded me it is time the trickster who is now telling us that those prairies and mountains and streams and Indians who beckoned us to come here are now bidding us a gentle goodbye. Our tribe must disband…but time has a way of doing those things, doesn’t he? Indeed, it is a tribe here: a small band of humble warriors, wise men and sages, elders and care-givers, complete with a chief and yes, even our own medicine man. However, as we return home, it gives me comfort to know that our circle will not be broken, only pulled in different directions, acting not unlike a net to include those we live with and love and even those who may not understand. You see, true bonds can never really be broken, only altered. Personally, I look forward to returning to my own sacred circle to share my experiences with family and friends and students and to ask them to join us. I urge you to do the same…there’s plenty of room at the table.

As for yesterday, the team traveled to Glacier National Park, guests of the Blackfeet Confederacy. It was truly an honor to be included and acknowledged in the opening ceremony. The group was in high spirits on this day of medicine wheels and mountain tops, winding roads and waterfalls. The goodwill and humor was evident among the group, and why shouldn’t it have been given our spectacular surroundings. The day culminated with a short hike and a good meal at the lodge—a full day of listening and laughing, sharing and learning. Yes, it was a good day.

I’m sorry I could not be a better record keeper of the day’s events, but each of us will take away his or her own memories and experiences, and they will be our own. It’s sometimes difficult to explain the significance of our experiences much like it is difficult to find the words to explain the beauty and grandeur of these mountains…but they are there and they mean different things to each of us. Norman Maclean spoke of “spots of time,” a molecular moment frozen in time expounding beauty, harmony, and perfection; a moment forever unaltered when it is recalled in times of “tranquility.” Believe me when this bus driver tells you he has learned something along the way. I respect and enjoy each of you. As you conclude your journey and return to your own sacred circle in British Colombia, Iowa, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Georgia, or Maryland, I hope you see your home with new eyes as you enter it from the East.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: given by David (from Davenport, IA)

Montana Time Line
Father Time, overcomes
Mother Earth, conceiving
Geologic time.
Tectonic plates move:
West on East.

Snows Fall,
Glaciers cut U-shaped valleys.

Original peoples trickle in;
Generation by generation.

Later peoples trickle in;
Day by day.

Conflicts arise over resources.
Productive time overcomes geologic time.

Glaciers Disappear.
Resources dwindle.
Individuals become shooting stars across the Montana night Big Sky.

David also discussed the 3rd point in the GV manual under “Why do Americans act like that?” It is a point about time and its control.

JOURNAL ENTRY: written by Justin (from Vancouver, BC)

Our morning started off with Sierra and Ed, from the community college, starting a smudge. After the group did this, Maureen gave the thought of the day and Peg read us her journal.
Calvin Weatherwax from Real People Herb’s invited us to a presentation for the evening.

Harold also came to our morning meeting and Todd and Tim would end up tilling at the community gardens today. Anita really liked her data entry work because she found the Indian names fascinating. David continued working on the lawn at Eagle Shield. His weed whacker often malfunctioned but he enjoyed the conversations he had with some Blackfeet. Sherry and Maureen switched positions for the day; Maureen worked inside Eagle Shield while Sherry delivered meals. Erica got her wish of working with children. Jamie and Jeni made collages and played bingo at the Care Center while Sierra, Peg and I worked on the patio. Allen made our work a lot easier by tilling the ground twice for us. We also received a lot of help from the community. Dorothy, an elder at the Center, helped rake the dirt; she was very interesting to work with. We also received help from Terry and Alex, ages 6 and 5, near the end of the day. They were fun to work with.

After our evening meeting, Calvin Weatherwax arrived and we went over to his house. We met his wife Pauline, who makes the products. They served us peppermint tea, taught us about Blackfeet beliefs, kept us warm with blankets and showed us numerous herbs and products. Stu, the cute little puppy, was running around and nibbling at us the entire time. In the middle of the presentation, the clouds rolled in and a few droplets of rain started to fall. However, near the end, the sun came out. Our evening at the Weatherwax home ended with a full, double rainbow. It was also Francoise’s birthday…. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"We waged our own little act of peace today."

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: given by Maureen (from Rhinebeck, NY)
Advice from a lake:
Be Clear…. Make Positive Ripples…. Look Beneath the Surface… Stay Calm… Shore Up Friendships… Take Time to Reflect… Be Full of Life…
(Taken from Maureen's bookmark card.)

JOURNAL ENTRY: written by Peg (from New York, NY)

Our work options were similar to Monday. Maureen, Sherry and David headed back to Eagle Shield. Maureen was determined to travel with Sean out into the reservation and deliver 98 meals. Sherry served in the kitchen and David mowed the lawn. Anita stayed back to work with Ardis, a Blackfeet working with the EPA, testing water quality on the reservation, or “res,” as most say.

The remaining eight of us headed over to the Community Center where we continued to both dig the patio and Jeni, Jamie, Justin and Erica played hours of Bingo indoors. Barbara, a resident, is the reigning bingo champion, playing 8 cards at a time. Jamie, our youngest GV at 9 years of age, proudly came in 2nd.

Hungry and covered with a thin layer of dirt, we happily broke for lunch. Sam, our Indian driver and organizer for the Tuesday night “sweat”, met us there. A very tall and amiable man, Sam quickly explained he had a very busy morning and that he was “ornery.” Sadly, he further explained that his Auntie, an elder, had passed away that early morning. His whole day would be spent with the preparations. Having grown up on the res, Sam has a very large family – 180 first and second cousins on his side alone. He expected 1000 people would come to participate in the funeral and invited us to join in the proceedings. He explained that Auntie’s body had to remain where it was for at least 5 hours so that her spirit would realize “she had passed.” To move her sooner might jeopardize her journey. The proceedings would be mostly Blackfeet, although as Catholics, there would also be a Catholic ceremony. Committed to his promise, the sweat would continue and arrangements were made to pick us up at 5PM and head to Heart Butte.

I spent 3 days at Glacier National Park before coming to the Blackfeet Reservation and it was magnificent. The ride to Heart Butte took my breath away. Taking this ride showed me a tiny glimpse into the great, beautiful expanse of this reservation.

For lack of an easier explanation, a sweat is a spiritual sauna set amidst the beautiful outdoors. The Indians use it as a means to pray and purify. This sweat was a 36 stone sweat and a sweat can be as large as 88 stones. Sam’s brother, Mike and cousin, Stewart, joined us. The stones are placed in the center of the sweat lodge, signifying the center of the universe. Four sessions of praying and singing ensue. Emergence from each session symbolizes the birth from the womb, each emergence approaching pureness. We began the ceremony wishing Aunt Mary a safe journey, thanking the Creator for the right to participate and praying for our families and new friends. Sierra, Jeni, Tim and Todd participated in all 4 sessions. Jamie, and Sam’s two children, Asherde and Jamison, bravely joined in the second session. Sam and Stewart kindly sang to them in Indian to alleviate their fears. He was happy to have “their Purity” adding to their prayers…All who participated were extremely moved by the experience.
A beautiful sunset ended the day and I can unequivocally say, “we waged our own little act of peace in the world today.”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday, June 15 in Montana

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: given by Jeni (from Rochester Hills, MI)
“Preach often, if necessary, use words.” (Advice from a mentor back home in Michigan.)

JOURNAL ENTRY: written by Sherry (from Davenport, IA)

First Work Day:
Like pieces fitting a jigsaw puzzle, we each sorted ourselves into our respective “Goldilocks” work sites. (The ones that were “just right” for us.)
Our journal/thought for the day focused our minds and hearts on our broader purpose: kindness and extending ourselves beyond our comfort zone. Then winding our way to the Community College, we entered the work-a-day world of Bob Tailfeathers: well educated, articulate, gifted, artistic – maker of quill jewelry and teacher of same. A kind father finding a way to make a new color and design, motivated by his father-love at his daughter’s request and she motivated to help others…kind, beautiful. Denise and Sissy from Head Start – businesswomen on a mission, yet humble and proud all at the same time. Smokey and Ivan – workers of the earth, caretakers of nature…intuitive and industrious…Salt of the earth kind of guys.

Eagle Shield lunch ladies extraordinaire, Maria and Sissy, guardians of a kitchen so clean and orderly – it is unmatched by any on the planet, nay – the universe. Donning our plastic aprons and gloves, Maureen and I dished up tuna casserole, beets and pears, homemade buns to our hungry Blackfeet brothers and sisters. Can this be some sort of atonement for the sins of starvation and near extinction of their ancestors?
But a meal shared with us by Hiram and Yvonne, who is fluent in Blackfeet, became a feast of knowledge and understanding as they spoke of the importance of language in preserving the culture. For embedded within the language is the very code of respect and honor intrinsic to these Indians. Without their language – their language, they are reduced to mere words: men without chests, people without their souls. Why does it take so many Blackfeet words to make one English word? Because a table isn’t just a table, a thing – it’s a place where we gather to eat. A school isn’t just a building – it’s the place we gather to learn. And what is a computer? It’s Blackfeet name is: “He thinks on his own” not – it thinks on its own – he thinks on his own. For Blackfeet, everything created by God or man is alive with purpose. They don’t have to search for meaning – it is apparent every time they breathe a phrase.
Todd and Tim shared their stories as well as their sweat – picking rock with Ivan in the reservation sun. This is just the first stop in Todd’s excellent adventure. A journey of greater understanding of indigenous people and their cultures – which he in turn will pass on to his family and students. Next stop – Cook Islands – Tanzania – new mountaintops – even Kilimanjaro. He is the window on the world for a very fortunate bunch of kids from Indiana. Their own Indiana Jones. Binding, ironing, ordering words…Anita, we all owe you one for the tedious tasks you undertook and all with that trademark smile and good nature.
Trekking, digging and trekking again and again between Care Center and the Learning Center for God knows what. Needed gloves, much needed lunch, lost souls and found again… aren’t we all….
Finally, I speak of the wisdom shared with us by Joe, Joseph and young Gus….transferred rights to such insights that we are now entrusted to preserve and pass with the virulence of a small pox epidemic and the passion of one once near death – but restored to life – of one once blind who now can see, from one whom we have received Amazing Grace – how sweet the sound and healing the cry of the flute – of new friendship….take off your shoes – we stand here on Holy Ground.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Second Summer Team in Browning - 2009

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: given by Sierra (from Georgia)

“Be a more generous stranger.”

I was on the plane flying alone for the first time and the two ladies I was sitting with were just so nice and supportive of me. One lady went out of her way to help me catch my next flight because I was a little nervous about finding it. So even thought she was in a rush herself to catch her flight and I had two hours and could’ve found it on my own in plenty of time, she made sure I was in the right place. Her generosity surprised me and just inspired me to try to be a more generous stranger to others.

JOURNAL ENTRY, DAY 1: written by Anita ( from Woodville, WI)

We started our morning together with a continental breakfast with groceries bought by Sherry and Jeni at the local IGA store. There are 12 volunteers and our Team Leader to feed. We all helped with the clean up and went into a group meeting.

Michele, our gracious Team Leader, presented a great icebreaker introduction to each other where we tricked ourselves into remembering each other’s first names. Everyone was remarkable in remembering names of the person to their left and right and the people before. The meeting continues with Global Volunteer policy and guideline discussion. We took a break when Tom announced the shower room and swimming pool were available.

We met again to discuss the projects available for the week. Blackfeet Care Center has digging sail for a patio and interacting with the residents, meals on wheels and serving the noon meal is at Eagle Shields, an assisted living residence, landscaping and office work are all needed projects by Browning residents and organizations. After a satisfying lunch of sandwiches and vegetables, a van full of us went with Sam, a Blackfeet Indian who is a reservoir of cultural/tradition knowledge. We left for St. Mary’s to travel to the Northern sites of the Reservation. With Sam as our talkative guide, we experienced a small part of Glacier National Park. We viewed Jackson Glacier, two waterfalls, the Three Peak divide and a drive across the eastern flat lands of the “Res.” Those of us in the van were Tim, David, Todd, Anita, Justin, Jeni, Sierra, Jamie and Erica. Peg and Maureen went hiking to Two Medicine and viewed 2 waterfalls. Sherry stayed in Browning and visited the Great Plains Museum where she met a Blackfeet “artist in residence.” Michele did paperwork and Global Volunteer business work.

The van came back on schedule and we all met to ride with Sam to the Care Center for a pizza and salad supper. Michele walked to the Center; she has so much energy.

After supper, we all walked back to Head Start for a meeting on team values. According to Michele, "there are 15 adjectives that make a successful team." Our team came up with more than 15, 18 to be exact. FUN, FOCUSED AND FLEXIBILITY ARE SOME OF OUR TEAM VALUES. Then we each shared three goals or actually reasons for being here in Browning, MT for the next 5 days, working as a service learning team. Several of these reasons are “to learn the Blackfeet Indian culture/traditions, to share skills, to work with new people, to have fun, to make a connection with Big Sky country, and other fine thoughts.”

We ended the evening with a film about the Blackfeet Indian history, told in their memories and in their point of view. It’s to bed after an enriching day with exploring the Reservation, Browning and enjoying each other.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Week On The Rez

Millennium Development Goals: 17 hours establishing home gardens for residents ; 185 elders fed nutritous meals; 120 hours of recreational and nurturing care to elders

Today was our final day. We woke up; held our morning meeting; and rushed to help out at Eagle Shield; move rocks at Blackfeet community college; help Daryl at Head Start, visit with the elderly at the Care Center, and move wood at Vareena’s house. I personally ended up moving rocks and helping Vareena. In many respects, I thought it was ironic that I spent the week cleaning someone’s yard and moving rocks since my family just hired someone to help clean up our yard and to rip-rap a hill that is eroding. Rip-rap is a fancy way of saying dumping rocks. Why was I paying someone to perform a function similar to the one I was paying for to perform for someone else? And, then it dawned on me when Kyra, Staci and I were leaving Vareena’s. Kyra exclaimed “isn’t it neat to see how happy Vareena was with what we accomplished.” Although I was thrilled to have spent the week working outside and getting to know and laugh with so many people, I will admit that there was a moment of envy when we arrived at the Care Center for the closing dinner. Upon our arrival, I learned that Noa and Anna, spent the afternoon accompanying seven of the Care Center residents to St. Marys for ice cream. After dinner at the Care Center --always a special treat -- we put on our talent show. Unfortunately, proved that singing is indeed a talent that not everyone has. Fortunately, we also learned that no one cares -- especially the residents of the nursing home -- and that trying can be fun. In the evening, we returned to clean the Early Childhood Center, have goodbye root beer floats, and to talk. I learned that earlier in the day, two people we had worked with had been laid off. When I expressed shock and concern to Michele, she replied that it was okay, they would collect unemployment and probably get their jobs back in the Fall. Michele’s “rez” roots were coming through. This is the lesson of the Blackfeet. No matter the circumstances or the hardship, life goes on and life will be okay. The Blackfeet roll with life’s punches. - Staci

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Browning

“You load 16 tons, and what do you get?” Well, Kim and I only loaded 1,600 pounds of trash
with Darryl Bird. Added to the trash picked up in the afternoon, it was a ton for sure!

At the care center, the "patio girls” moved another ton of dirt and I know Forrest and Noa would have moved a ton had they had a wheelbarrow. And what did we get? Talking only for myself --a little sore, a little satisfaction, a little frustration. Forrest had the idea that we should suggest
that the Head Start Center turn the lot into a vegetable garden. Great idea, but you never want to step on toes, and who should spear-head such an ambitious project? I just hope they don’t “pave paradise, put up a parking lot” or my worst fear -- the return of a junk pile.

Feedings continued at Eagle Shield where the crew is now so effcient they set new clean-up records and in the afternoon some residents in the Care Center made beaded key chains.

The surprise at the evening meeting was a visit from Barbara and Leona. These two Elders graced us with stories of their childhood growing up on the “Rez” and tried to teach us a few words in Blackfeet. Hopefully, at Friday’s “talent” show we will do them proud when we sing
“Git see"kawko"min” --I love you -- to the residents. Many of us were moved when Barbara thanked us for having her in our circle. She then told us she was feeling down today after receiving news of the death of two people close to her. Little did we realize that while she was
giving so much herself, we were also there giving to her. It’s the timeless truth of giving--you get what you give. I hope today we all gave a little and got a little.

- Lisa
At the end of a long day, we all gathered together and were privileged to hear Leona speak
to us about the Blackfeet language. She shared personal stories of her childhood, and tradition taught to her by her grandparents and elders. She learned nuances and complexities of Blackfeet
syntax and her unique style as an educator to the young to preserve the past. We learned to say “I love you” and count to the more contemporary Macarena. As if that were not special in itself, her sister -in -law Barbara came along to expand on their ancient tales and unwritten practices. Were told of the “correct” way to do things that you will not find in the current literature. At the
end of the day, she shared a special story with us which memorialized a perfect lesson of Blackfeet experience.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Volunteering on the "Rez"

June 8
Oki’ !Today our mighty group arrived bright and early at the community college to hear from a number of interesting guests about the type of work we wouldbe doing. Leona, also known as “woman of many songs,” spoke movingly of the flood memorial and explained about what a senseless tragedy that dambreaking had been. It’s being memorialized today with a “feed” across town. She then led the group in a Blackfeet prayer; we all bowed our heads and though we couldn’t understand the language, we understood the intentions behind the words.There is something very peaceful and serene about many of the Blackfeet and Leona is no exception. After explaining some miraculous and “blush-inducing” remedies for everything ranging from acne to athlete’s foot, our next guest, Wilbur Fish spoke about his in-depth knowledge of herbs, plants and western medicine. He was eloquent and passionate, and his gardening work detail was a popular choice. We then broke out into a number of groups, and helped at the Care Center, the feed, and gardening with Wilbur. Those of us at the feed had the honor of meeting the chairman of the reservation and his family later in the day, in the casino which Noa seemed to secretly enjoy. He was honest about the challenges that face the Blackfeet -- issues like unemployment and alcoholism -- but he is very committed to change and all had an intense hour-long discussion with him, his wife, and his son who wore a “B” cap, not for Boston, but for Browning, of ourse!.Following dinner, we discussed the group’s goals for the trip and Forrest got especially impassioned about all the different categories and we had a lively debate before retiring. I felt privileged to share this experience with such a kind and enthusiastic group.
June 9
Today we began work day #2 with our usual meeting. For a few minutes it, appeared iffy whether Michele would be able to participate because of a phone call to Bermuda. But, the folks in Bermuda said that they would be happy starting the call late. I suspect that Bermuda runs on Blackfeet time!

Upon the completion of our morning meeting, we split up to work on different projects. One group worked at the Care Center on either staining the shed or visiting with the residents. Another group was supposed to clean out another shed. I got the feeling that today was shed day. The second shed group ended up shredding paper. Although this is technically not a shed, it did involve a word using the same letters. A third group went to Eagle Shield to prepare and serve meals. Another group went to prepare house gardens. Finally, the last group had the joy of driving vehicles with the steering wheel on the wrong side and moving a lot of rocks at the Community College! After work, some went hiking while other went to the museum. All of us enjoyed another dinner courtesy of the Care Center. ! In general, there is a feeling that we all saw lots of things and helped others out. I feel that today was the day for seeing and trying new
things. I learned that people really appreciate all the work we did and they were really happy when Kyra and I brought them their meals.
- Noa

June 10
This morning we dragged ourselves out of bed at 6:15 to have a nice private shower. After
breakfast, we went to the meeting where Michele explained our duties for the day. Our jobs
included shoveling at the Care Center, picking rocks, delivering meals, and gardening. We,
meaning Sierra, Erica, Erika, Ellisha, and Anna choose shoveling at the care center. When we got there, we ran into our friend Barbara, a patient at the Center, whom we talked and joked with. After chatting, we began digging, which proved a long day. Sierra gave the suggestion that we dig the letters GV into the ground for Global Volunteers. After pictures were taken of us and the GV in the ground, it was time to leave and go horseback riding, which we were so excited for. After what seemed like a 10 hour drive up their winding driveway, we finally got sight of the Deboos’ home. The eight that decided to go horseback riding had a wonderful time. We saw a group of horses galloping up a hill and a rock formation Chuck said was formed by water. On our way back from our ride, our tummies rumbled, awaiting our home cooked meals. It was of course as good as expected, leaving our bellies full. We left shortly after super with sleepy eyes and
happy hearts.
Thought For the Day #4
Selected by: Seymour High School Students
Just Do It!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Volunteering on the Blackfeet Reservation - Day 1

Today began with the meeting of the rest of Group 55 who arrived from Wisconsin late last P.M. We all joined together for our communal breakfast, anxious to greet our new partners in the group. After breakfast and clean up, we joined our leader Michele for a a video of Global Volunteers history and another about the history of the Blackfeet Nation. The room was still and silent, perhaps everyone was thinking the feeling “I never learned about history this way.”

The rest of the day was a sensory gallery of experiences as we drove around a portion of what we now know as ‘the rez.‘ Geography and the history of the area was brought to life. Much of the secret and unwritten past and culture of the Blackfeet was shared with us by our ever and willing and impressively knowledgeable driver Sam. We visited Many Glacier and saw elk on the loose, sheep, cattle, and ponies at every turn. The massive St. Marys fire remains and flood history are large visual lessons. At the end of the day, we are so anxious to start working, and realize that we too are the recipients of good fortune.