1. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Waiting for snow

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    2
    “We are waiting for snowthe way we might wait for a trainto arrive with its cold cargo—it is late already, but surelyit will come.” ~ from Interlude by Linda Pastan Last Friday, our first real snowfall of the season was promised—ten centimetres! Thursday afternoon, the forecast changed: the weather alert...
  2. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Beauty redefined

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    4
    The window by my side of the bed looks out on a thickly wooded hillside. It’s the first thing my eyes take in upon waking. About a month ago, the view was predominantly green with a few glimpses of yellowy orange far in the background. As the mornings unfurled, so...
  3. Mary Lou van Schaik

    I am so sorry

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    3
    Today here in Canada, we are marking the 1st National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It’s a sombre day, remembering and honouring the children who died at former Canadian residential schools along with the survivors, families and communities. Over the past year, more than 1200 unmarked graves have been uncovered...
  4. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Floating…and held

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    4
    This summer I was in the water a lot, just like my mother used to be. And, just like my Mom, I lay back in the water and floated. But unlike Mom, for whom floating was as natural as breathing, my floating was practically a miracle. For the first time...
  5. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Crossing the threshold

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    7
    June was my birthday month. This year was significant, as I crossed the threshold into a new decade, my 70s. The weeks leading up to the day found me preoccupied with the weight the number 70 carried. Already a long life, when compared to my Dad and my brother’s deaths...
  6. Mary Lou van Schaik

    Suspended in the unknown

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    1
    This past winter, I felt my energies waning, my interests dulled. It was an effort to call friends. Going out for a walk seemed a chore. Reading headlines, I felt numb. Personal contact had shrunk to our household of two, and intermittent hugless visits with our closest neighbours, good friends...
  7. 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,...
  8. 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...
  9. 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,...