Last month Aidan’s science teacher invited him to volunteer and take part in a “Trail of History“, where interpreters portray and demonstrate life as it was from 1670–1850 in the former Northwest Territory. The period clothing was provided and all Aidan had to do was show up, be responsible and work a two hour shift as a trader. I thought it was a great compliment that he was invited and that it would be a great educational opportunity for both of my boys to attend. I’ve never been to a historical reenactment but have always been interested and I really didn’t know what to expect. So with curious minds and my camera my boys and I set off for the day. The morning started out with a mile hike to the village. The landscape and the weather were the perfect backdrop for the tents, teepees and participants. We walked through the fog and trees and it felt as if we were walking through a sepia photograph.
The white tents and teepees in the village were amazingly beautiful against the white foggy skies!
A blacksmith getting ready for the day.
A group of men were firing cannons at the top of a kame. The smoke covered the sun like a cloud.
Books, slates, and benches in the schoolhouse.
I caught Aidan happily inspecting his dress for the day. He now wants a pair of moccasins. I was so inspired that I’m going to pull mine out of retirement.
Here Aidan is ready to go as a trader, waiting for someone to trade with. He worked in this tent with other kids his own age and they would trade goods (feathers, stones, wooden cutouts) with younger children who would pay $1 for their own bag of goods to trade. It was really a great way to include the younger kids and teach them a little bit about life back then. Aidan really enjoyed this and I am so thankful this unique opportunity.
Being a longtime vegetarian, these furs made me sad to look at but listening to the fur trader talk about life in the 1800’s was eye opening.
And then there was this man and his oxen. Oh my. It was in the two minutes that I had while he stood up, took a drink and walked away that I felt truly grateful for my eyesight, my camera, and learning how to use it more and more. I asked him if I could take a photograph of him. I took three. The last one being the last photograph here. I really am not one to pat myself on the back (I am quite critical of myself to a serious and debilitating fault) but I really love this photograph. It just works for me. Every time I look at it I feel the thrill of capturing something fleeting and beautiful and of being able to see my own growth as a photographer. After I shot these, he mumbled something like this, “Why would you want to take a picture of me? I’m so ugly.” What? I was stunned. I said nothing because I couldn’t even understand this. I was drawn to him because the fact is that he was so darned attractive to me – the lines on his face, his expression, how he commanded and controlled his oxen as if they were dogs, how his clothing coordinated perfectly with the landscape and his animals. I am going to try to find this man. I feel such a need to thank him for the inspiration and to show him how handsome I thought he was.
Sadly this was the last “Trail of History” at Glacial Park. I plan on researching some other historical events to take my boys to. I am thankful for this day, for the landscape and for the people who participated and made this event happen.