I lived at this semi-detached house on Dalehurst Drive from 2002 until 2006. That was the longest I’d spent at a single dwelling over the course of living in Ottawa and pretty well aligns with my stint at Carleton University.
What to say about a house? Chris and Kathryn were leasing it. My bedroom was the first I’d ever painted, a dark blue. In the corner, I wrote emotional fiction, poetry and bits of biography while sitting at a desk I’d been lugging around in pieces since college. When I think back on that room, the soundtrack is a heart beating loudly and sometimes obnoxiously.
For a while I took up birdwatching as a hobby. There are a lot of things, smaller than that, that I either won’t touch on or have forgotten entirely. Little efforts at living. Diversity. On calm summer evenings, I’d listen to music and stroll down the bike path, where the electrical towers cast failing shadows in the setting sun. Those are nice memories.
Ottawa has instantly recognizable bus stations, some with walkways coloured an O Canada red that extend over busy highways and transit roads. At Place D’Orleans, the walkway reaches over the 417 east toward the Orleans suburbs, with its streets named after berries and birds, tough to navigate even after a few attempts.
There are certain spaces in which I’ve become who I am, and witnessed others be who they were. The spaces stay put while I and the people I’ve shared them with cease to occupy them. Spaces in general can make me incredibly sentimental. I remember existing in rooms and on walkways, on buses and in shopping mall retail outlets, touching, speaking, inhaling long and letting my memory take shape.
I’m quite happy burning flies.