203 Slices
Medium 9781771870849

Concrete Heavens

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub


Visionaries never see more directly than through the symbolism by which they are troubled.

— Phillip Rieff

IN HIS ANECDOTAL MEMOIR, CHARLES TEMPLETON — former evangelist, politician, journalist, and editor of Macleans — recounts an experience at Princeton Seminary, where he had enrolled in quest of a more liberal faith after severing his professional ties with Billy Graham.

One night I went to the golf course rather late. I had attended a movie and something in the film had set to vibrating an obscure chord in my consciousness. Standing with my face to the heavens, tears streaming, I heard a dog bark off in the distance and, from somewhere, faintly, eerily, a baby crying. Suddenly I was caught up in a transport. It seemed that the whole of creation — trees, flowers, clouds, the skies, the very heavens, all of time and space and God Himself — was weeping. I knew somehow that they were weeping for mankind: for our obduracy, our hatreds, our ten thousand cruelties, our love of war and violence. And at the heart of this eternal sorrow I saw the shadow of a cross, with the silhouetted figure on it … weeping.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870825

Wilderness and Agriculture

Virgo, Seán Thistledown Press ePub


Jan Zwicky

WHEN THE WILDLIFE CONTROL OFFICER from the county came, he confirmed we had a problem. “They’ll take every tree within 200 yards either side.” He was eager to set the dynamite and watch the dams go up but, having grown up hunting north of the Sault, he didn’t like the part of his job that required him to kill beavers: “don’t shoot what you can’t eat.” But there was no point blowing the dams, he said, if you didn’t kill the beavers too — they’d just rebuild, usually overnight. He told me, trying to reassure me I think, that they weren’t particularly “nice” critters: he’d seen them use traps, with the bodies of their dead kin still inside, to repair dynamited dams. Thinking about it later that evening, I couldn’t decide if that made them sinners, or saints.

There was no question I could get the county to do the work. Our fords had been destroyed, the banks were being seriously destabilized, we were losing fences, and, arguably, the whole horse pasture might eventually be cut off — all of which meant your tax dollars could be spent on our farm, to control beavers in the name of “conservation”. And while it was nice to be invited to think of myself as a responsible eco-citizen making hard choices for the greater environmental good, it was pretty clear that accepting that invitation was just a way of simplifying and obscuring the real issues.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781927068151

In the Low Post

Hayes, Derek Thistledown Press ePub


I HAVE THE BALL IN THE LOW post, my back to the basket. Adrian, a lanky eighteen-year-old kid, six foot six — his calves a third of this length — is draped over me. I pump fake and Adrian bites, leaving his feet. I dig my shoulder into his stomach and hook the ball over him, but even so he smacks it out of bounds. He knows better than to say anything. I grab his T-shirt and pretend like I’m going to slap him. “Just joking. Nice block, bro’.” All ten of us stand waiting for the game to continue, no one saying the obvious — that it is, of course, my job to retrieve the ball. I’m not going to make an issue of it. I might have as a teenager, but I’m twenty-five now. I follow the ball over a clump of grass to a chain link fence, where it rolls up against a leg. I jump back a step. The leg belongs to a kid, who is lying still. With the sun setting he’s difficult to see. His skin is lighter than mine. He’s dirty and he smells like vomit. His lack of expression and unwillingness to call out as the ball hit his leg is what trips me up the most.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781771870801


Forrie, Allan Thistledown Press ePub
“Resisterville” by Don Gayton takes place in Nelson, British Columbia and the surrounding Slocan Valley which had been a hotspot for Vietnam draft-dodgers in the 1960s. Backlash ensues when a local man proposes erecting a monument to draft-dodgers and those who assisted them.
See All Chapters
Medium 9781927068304

The Champion

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub


First let me get the devilry out of the way. He was a formidable six-year-old obstacle, a runny-nosed waif with dark, suspicious eyes and something weasel-like in his face, who drove his first-grade teacher to distraction. He whined and snarled, he pestered and annoyed, he fought and he lied. Many times a day he flopped out of his desk and crawled on the floor among the legs of kids who were working obediently. He picked his nose and rolled the snot into a ball and flicked it at the teacher, then sat silently as she disintegrated, looking up through big eyes from under a growth of wiry unkempt hair. He fantasized excessively, or lied (often nobody knew which), he ate erasers, he threw things around the room and tantrums at the teacher. And once in awhile he worked a little.

There was more; but let’s just say he was an impedance to the flow of all educational currents. He was so exceptional at so young an age, that no official labels had yet been hung on him — TMH, ADHD, LD, BD, ED, and no DSM diagnosis either. He was Kent (an invented name), an exception to many rules, somewhere out near the first or ninety-ninth percentile of things, and something in me found that appealing.

See All Chapters

See All Slices