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The thing about ice

The thing about ice

Seems like all it takes is the sound of a shovel or skates scraping an ice surface out-of-doors and I time-travel: winters of youth when you dared to hitch a ride behind the bumper of a car; took bets from friends while in your head, you heard your mother’s voice telling you not to put […]

Stuff

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Stuff

Tryin’ to figure what it is about material possessions that seem to sometimes take up way too much space in our physical environments and our consciousness. Like way too much space: And I’m guessing that I don’t hold a patent on the concept, as in I am not alone. The challenge for me is that […]

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Jan Czyrkiewicz

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Jan Czyrkiewicz

It wouldn’t be so that Christmas for me could be spent at home along Slab Creek in Hillier. That time will gladly arrive in the future. Christmas meant a drive to Ottawa this year, a drive most familiar. I originate from there and left in my twenties. Over the years my ties have become loaded […]

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Prayer shack

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Prayer shack

I’m building what I call a prayer shack. It’s out back in my yard. It’s not big, in fact it’s only a little bigger than a chiclet, I’d say. Perhaps it is the advent of winter solstice that inspired it. Built of cedar and hemlock and pine, the shack is sited so as to take […]

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The game

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The game

The sky this morning is as heavy as clay. The sullen quiet beyond my hotel window defies the traffic of a Monday morning in the nation’s capital. The dampness of the Ottawa Valley is evidenced in the drifting bits of snow squeezed from the heavens. For those who are fans of football, or even those […]

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Pomegranate Study

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Pomegranate Study

Say you walked into a room with 12 people to greet you and one is introduced as November, how would you read the individual’s persona? Heavy-lipped with furrowed eyebrows, one friend mentioned. Another said November was Leonid Brezhnev in a fisherman’s sweater. Dressed in tweed, grumpy in a cashmere scarf someone invited; How about unkempt […]

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Remembering

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Remembering

It’s early evening, and around here most folks hit the pillow early. The dark November sky and cold rain hitting beyond the window next to me adds weight to the poignancy of the art that lines the walls of this place. There are paintings of warships, of air bombers, of troops. The quiet culture of […]

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Buster come home

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Buster come home

Do you ever find that sometimes stuff happens out of sync with how you pictured it? Recent months have kept me on the move, away from home—yet being home and settled is exactly what I’m after. I’m missing the timeof- year moments: for instance, picking apples or gathering the Concord grapes in the corner of […]

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Closing time

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Closing time

As sure as the cold bite of recent mornings and the turning of the maples in the sunlit afternoons, it is a shift of season. In the Ottawa neighbourhood where my father has enjoyed his home of 50 years, there is sea-change of another kind happening. In many ways it’s a microcosm of a demographic […]

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Silent sky

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Silent sky

Travelling from urban to rural settings and back again on a semi-regular schedule these days, I have begun more than ever to appreciate the solitude of wide-open country. Tonight, shutting the ignition on my truck—a noisy diesel affair—after a four-hour drive from Ottawa, I stand under the night sky and take in the stillness of […]

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