Manitoulin Life
I got my wood delivered today. A sixty-five-year-old Ojibway man from  the M’Chigeeng First Nation brought me twelve chords of hardwood he’d  cut, split and loaded himself. He talked to me the whole time we  unloaded the wood and as we heaved it toward the deck where I was to  stack it , tarp it, and store it for the winter. For me, it was a big  job. Shit I got up early and made the kids sandwiches and got their  lunches and packs together for school like everday, but today I had got  up a little earlier to eat a good breakfast, take a walk to limber up  before Dominic arrived with the wood.  Now it’s not just anyone I would freely choose to spend a half hour,  much less a few hours shooting the shit with. It’s awkward and I don’t  do very well in it if it’s forced. If there is no common ground I hope  for a good hearted individual, optimistic and positive about the  unfolding of the day. I will happily piggy back that good vibe for as  long as it lasts. Conversation among men in North Ontario, (with dream, comfort, memory to  spare) often include talk of things that go bang, whoosh, vroom or zip.  and although I hike, mountain bike and swim there is unabashed  incredulity to my lack of sportsmanship. My ambiguity with hunting is  simply: I have a great empathy for the hunted yet no antipathy for the  hunter. I don’t judge hunters. My unwillingness to kill things is my  own.  So while a regular guy might while away the hours bonding over the  upcoming deer hunt or renovating his icefishing hut, I hope for  conversation about film, politics or a good joke. I have no illusions.  The conversational impasse is mine. I am an odd conversational nut to  crack.  Dominic entertains no illusions as he tells me about his deer hide  business, his trapping and bush cutting. He’s a big guy, at six-one, 210  pounds and although he is twenty years older than me he continues to  toss the wood at a slow but steady pace, never hard of breath, rarely a  grimace crosses his rutted, weathered face. I pale a little when he says  he has another load of wood like this one to deliver to someone else. I  quickly offer sympathy, but I realize that’s not where he was going or  why he said it, he just smiles and says he has nothing else to do. He tells me his mom passed last winter and that he misses going to the  home to see her and that he is traveling to windsor soon to do some  tanning as he has 650 hides from last winter. He is telling me what is  important to him. He trusts me. He has no contrivances. He simply is. His Mother was very old and it was time and he was very happy with my  wife Connie’s help when he visited (she worked as an administrator  there) and it’s tough but he does okay and as he unfolds one more piece  of his life I start to drift, and I think of an old Merle Haggard song -  A Good Hearted Woman in Love With a Two Timing Man - and I feel a  little like the two timing man two timing Dominc’s life and good heart  while I wonder what it’s like to live life without pretension or  epilogue. Dominic is the kind of man who would happily give his time to help you  rebuild your house after a fire. Or sand bag it from a flood. He is a  good, simple man.

I got my wood delivered today. A sixty-five-year-old Ojibway man from the M’Chigeeng First Nation brought me twelve chords of hardwood he’d cut, split and loaded himself. He talked to me the whole time we unloaded the wood and as we heaved it toward the deck where I was to stack it , tarp it, and store it for the winter. For me, it was a big job. Shit I got up early and made the kids sandwiches and got their lunches and packs together for school like everday, but today I had got up a little earlier to eat a good breakfast, take a walk to limber up before Dominic arrived with the wood.

Now it’s not just anyone I would freely choose to spend a half hour, much less a few hours shooting the shit with. It’s awkward and I don’t do very well in it if it’s forced. If there is no common ground I hope for a good hearted individual, optimistic and positive about the unfolding of the day. I will happily piggy back that good vibe for as long as it lasts.

Conversation among men in North Ontario, (with dream, comfort, memory to spare) often include talk of things that go bang, whoosh, vroom or zip. and although I hike, mountain bike and swim there is unabashed incredulity to my lack of sportsmanship. My ambiguity with hunting is simply: I have a great empathy for the hunted yet no antipathy for the hunter. I don’t judge hunters. My unwillingness to kill things is my own.

So while a regular guy might while away the hours bonding over the upcoming deer hunt or renovating his icefishing hut, I hope for conversation about film, politics or a good joke. I have no illusions. The conversational impasse is mine. I am an odd conversational nut to crack.

Dominic entertains no illusions as he tells me about his deer hide business, his trapping and bush cutting. He’s a big guy, at six-one, 210 pounds and although he is twenty years older than me he continues to toss the wood at a slow but steady pace, never hard of breath, rarely a grimace crosses his rutted, weathered face. I pale a little when he says he has another load of wood like this one to deliver to someone else. I quickly offer sympathy, but I realize that’s not where he was going or why he said it, he just smiles and says he has nothing else to do.

He tells me his mom passed last winter and that he misses going to the home to see her and that he is traveling to windsor soon to do some tanning as he has 650 hides from last winter. He is telling me what is important to him. He trusts me. He has no contrivances. He simply is.

His Mother was very old and it was time and he was very happy with my wife Connie’s help when he visited (she worked as an administrator there) and it’s tough but he does okay and as he unfolds one more piece of his life I start to drift, and I think of an old Merle Haggard song - A Good Hearted Woman in Love With a Two Timing Man - and I feel a little like the two timing man two timing Dominc’s life and good heart while I wonder what it’s like to live life without pretension or epilogue.

Dominic is the kind of man who would happily give his time to help you rebuild your house after a fire. Or sand bag it from a flood. He is a good, simple man.

  1. patrickjkiley posted this