1. Mary Lou van Schaik

    The winter kid in me

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    2
    Not too long ago, on one of this winter’s bounty of fine days, my good friend Micheline persuaded me to try skating again—even though it’s been at least 15, if not 20 years since I last laced up a pair. In fact, I no longer own a pair of skates,...
  2. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Time to savour the familiar

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    4
    I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just aging, but I find my sense of time shifting. No longer are my eyes fixed firmly on the future. Things that used to preoccupy me—goals, plans, even a sense of purpose—have faded away. It’s as if my eyes have swung away...
  3. Mary Lou van Schaik

    At the feeder

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    2
    Morning mist sifts through the hills, veils the snow-laden fields. The sky is a soft, quiet grey. From a south window, the scene is calm. But when I turn west to where the bird feeder hangs from the clothesline post, my eyes fall on a flurry of feathered movement. Chickadees,...
  4. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Ripening with age

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    2
    Another glorious fall; watching the golden leaves twist in the sun, then drop in the rain, my thoughts range over the arc of my nearly 70 years on this planet. Scenes from various jobs flit through my mind: labelling socks in a musty factory; clerking in a tiny bookstore; writing...
  5. Mary Lou van Schaik

    The last of a family

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    4
    My last blood uncle has died. Uncle John left this world on Sunday, August 23rd. He was 95, frail with Alzheimer’s, and as so often the case, had suffered a debilitating fall from which he did not recover. By blessed grace, his two sons managed to return to Holland from...
  6. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Risking delight

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    3
    Midsummer. Mid-afternoon. Lounging outside under the trees. After several days of sweltering heat and humidity, cooler air fans deliciously across my skin. Cicadas zing, blue jay nestlings wheeze like an infant’s toy cushion, a squirrel slithers and leaps from branch to branch. Above, fairy tale cumulus sail across the smooth...
  7. Mary Lou van Schaik

    An examination of conscience

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    2
    “I saw color (theirs). I just didn’t see mine.” So wrote my friend Wendy in White Girl, her searingly honest blog post on being white. More than a year ago, when she and I first began talking about race, I assumed that we in Canada didn’t have the same degree...
  8. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Praise the loaf

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    8
    Six weeks into the COVID-19 lockdown and we’re all baking sourdough bread. What’s with this? I realize that bread is the ultimate comfort food, that it engages all the senses, that there’s nothing like the smell and taste of homemade bread just out of the oven. But why sourdough? Why...