How to fix a “mestack”

I have a class full of Grade 1 students who love writing. If something exciting or interesting happens you can can guarantee that someone will say “CAN WE WRITE ABOUT IT?” or “CAN I MAKE A BOOK ABOUT THIS?”

It makes me so happy when I hear this kind of enthusiasm towards writing. One student is adamant that he is going to be an illustrator but the kind of illustrator that sometimes writes the words too. He has written his own series entitled “The Little Boy” and has been busy writing a letter to Todd Parr to ask him some pretty specific questions about his illustrations. “Illustrations are really important in a book, you know!” he claims almost daily.

His most recent book was called “How to Fix a Mestack”. He told the sweetest story about a character who had made a mess. He was feeling sad that he hadn’t made a very good choice but he wasn’t sure how to fix it. His Mom told him he could clean it up and so he did! At the end, the character says, “It’s okay to make mestacks!”

I couldn’t stop thinking about this book this afternoon because I made a pretty big “mestack”. I thought it would be a good idea to borrow some cross-country skis and go for a quick ski on campus. I got all geared up and hit the trails only to realise that the cross-country ski tracks had not been set. The trail had been groomed but the track wasn’t set. I told myself that it wasn’t a big deal because I could just skate ski.  Which sounds like a logical thing to do when you know how to skate ski. I, however have never skate skied in my life. That was my first “mestack.”

I started skate skiing only to realise that I was not very good at it. I kept at it. Until the groomed part of the trail ended. I was determined to go for a good ski, I didn’t want to turn back yet. I noticed there was a little track that someone had made by skiing through the fresh powder on the trail. We are talking powder up to almost your knees. I decided to follow it. This was my second “mestack”.

My skis kept sliding off the home made track and getting lost in the depths of the fresh powder. As a result I fell at least seven to ten times. I am sure I heard the deer and mountain lions laughing from the side lines.

I noticed that I was nearing the end of the trail, only a quarter of the trail left…




I was faced with a mountain of snow blocking my way! There was no crawling through it, there was no going around it. There was only one option, turn around and ski the three quarters that you just completed.

Seven to ten more falls and I made it back in one snow covered piece.

Next time I am not making the same “mestack”, I am going snowshoeing instead!


11 thoughts on “How to fix a “mestack”

  1. I’m glad you can learn from your “mestack” and your students. I love the line about the deer laughing at you. I can picture that being in a published children’s book someday. Maybe you should have your student write that story.

  2. What an adventure! I know nothing about cross country skiing except what I saw on the Olympics, so I was surprised to learn that those tracks are set. I thought the first person out made them and everyone followed in it because it’s easier. I have had the experience of skiing off the slope and into fresh powder of three feet. Not fun! I guess you got your exercise that day.

    • I thought that for a long time too Elsie. I grew up cross country skiing but hadn’t done it in at least a decade, if not more. It has been great to get back on skis this year but this particular adventure was not as great as the others.

      It sounds like you have a slice to write about your own skiing adventure. I would love to hear about that experience. haha!

  3. Love how you get your students so excited about writing! 😊 When I saw the title I kept wondering what me-stack meant! I thought it was a stack of books that you wanted to read. Haha! Good on you for going on adventure. Glad you had a good attitude about it though (as always!). 😊

  4. That “mestack” sounds like quite the adventure! I could feel your disbelief and frustration when the trail was blocked so close to the end. Isn’t it amazing how the words of a 1st grader can be so wise 🙂

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