There is human time and there is wild time. When I was a child in the north woods, before I learned there were four seasons to a year, I thought there were dozens: the time of nighttime thunderstorm, heat lightning time, bonfires-in-the-woods time, blood-on-the-snow time, the times of ice trees, bowing trees, crying trees, shimmering trees, breaded trees, waving-at-the-tops-only trees, and trees-drop-their babies time. I loved the seasons of diamond snow, steaming snow, squeaking snow, and even dirty snow and stone snow, for these meant the time of flower blossoms on the river was coming.

These seasons were like important and holy visitors and each sent its harbingers: pinecones open, pinecones closed, the smell of leaf rot, the smell of rain coming, crackling hair, lank hair, bushy hair, doors loose, doors tight, doors that won’t shut at all, windowpanes covered with ice-hair, windowpanes covered with wet petals, windowpanes covered with yellow pollen, windowpanes pecked with sap gum. And our own skin had its cycles too: parched sweaty, gritty, sunburned, soft.

~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Shooting the Domtar Lands – Part 2

Another glorious day working outside, this time photographing a series of attached buildings beginning on the corner of Rue Eddy & Boulevard Alexandre-Tache. The mostly stone buildings are encased in high chain link fencing, held tight by cross-wires and reinforced by steel posts and beams endeavouring to keep all the bits together. Bill worked the overview from across the street and I shot details, dancing with the thousand or so cyclists who apologized, ducked and rode around me and my tripod on the sidewalk cycling path.

Today’s theme was texture and patina, the kind of patina you pay thousands of dollars for on new pieces of furniture masquerading as DIY Brooklyn Boho. Changes in texture marked the transition in buildings, in age, in style, in charm factor.

I saw curly emerald paint swaths, flaking, embossed tin tiles vertically installed on building fronts, metal fascia and eaves and dormers one after another still plumb, level and square, fragile, dangling clapboard stripped by countless days of sun, rain, snow, and wind, creeping nature, fractured glass panes, warped window screens, stone window sills with crumbling peaks of sand in the corners, folds of unsuitable stone installed in a place where it doesn’t belong.

On the very northwest corner at the end of the building series, I discovered the prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box: a carved stone plaque reading The E.B. Eddy Co. 1892 and below, a ghostly stone arch, now infilled but boasting the visible remains of carriage door hardware. Easy to miss with its subtle change in stone type and colour and the plaque placed so far above eye level. I only noticed because I was looking through my ‘camera eye.’

Cataloguing these buildings I fully appreciate they are the real deal: They are history made manifest, irreplaceable, invaluable and the backbone of Ottawa’s post-contact built history. New buildings can be gorgeous and satisfying in their own way, but they aren’t this.

Further reading:

Everything Changes: Shooting the Domtar Lands

Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids 2015 – Day 1

Being Canadian, I have to lead with the weather: How on earth did we luck out getting the warmest most perfect day of the year so far?

It provided an excellent backdrop for Day 1 of Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids. In another few hours we’ll launch Day 2 with Jane’s Yoga with the Locals, Jane’s Worship with the Locals, and the family-friendly walk/talk/workshop Disappearing Habitat: Killing the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg with John McKenzie at his own natural history museum at 720 River Rd, Burritt’s Rapids (Kemptville). All three events begin at 9:00am.

Between 8:30am and 9:00am I will be a guest of Mary Ito on CBC’s Fresh Air, airing right across Ontario, to talk about Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids and the importance of these kinds of events to community. Tune in on your local CBC station.

More paddling, more gardening talk, more Burritt’s Rapids day lilies for sale, more history, more Doors Open and a noon potluck on deck for today. Check out the full listings here.

We hope you will come out and join us!

Here’s a peek at yesterday’s festivities from local photographer K. Kerr (all rights his):


Jane Jacobs
This is Jane Jacobs.

It’s here! It’s here! Jane’s Walk weekend is upon us and the Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids Community Festival launches at 9:00am this morning with a Jane’s Run with the Locals.

The festival runs Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am until 4:30pm. Pack your lunch, sunscreen, water, walking shoes and curiosity and come #BeLikeJane. The best parking is along Donnelly Drive, in front of the church. If you can find the Community Hall (23 Grenville St.) you can find everything!

Click here for local schedule listings and details.

Click here for the Jane’s Walk Ottawa master listings.

If I were a kid at Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids…

Please note the change: The car collection will only be in the village on Saturday

….this is what I would do:

1.  Attend the family-friendly Jane’s Walk ‘n Talk called: Disappearing Habitat: Killing the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg.  John McKenzie has a natural history museum in his workshop and there’s lots to see and touch (Sunday)

2.  Take a paddle up the Rideau Canal in a 16-passenger Voyageur Canoe complete with costumed guides (Saturday/Sunday)

3.  Pack a lunch and picnic by the river (Saturday) or picnic/potluck (Sunday)

4.  Hunt around the village to find the ten objects on the scavenger list and claim my prize at the Community Hall (Saturday/Sunday) 

Click here for the Scavenger Hunt page

5.  Hike to the Stoney Steps (Nope! I won’t spoil the surprise) (anytime)

6.  Check out David Watson’s European sportscar collection, which is way nicer than my family van (Saturday)

7.  Walk to Other David’s Open Lab and see what cool science projects are happening (Sunday) – appropriate for older kids

8.  Explore the Tip-to-Tip Trail (I’m on an island!) (anytime)

9.  Say ‘hi’ to the horses at Lone Wolf Farm (anytime)

10.  See how many species of birds and animals I can spot; see if I can find Turtle Rock on the way to the Lock Station (anytime)

11.  Take a reading break in the library at the old Lockmaster’s House (Saturday)

12.  Go to church with my family (Sunday)

13.  Play in the park behind the hall, on the swings down by the beach, and goof around with my new friends (anytime)

If I were a kid I’d be playing to my heart’s content!

If I were a kid....
If I were a kid….

Exploring the intersection of people, their homes, and communities