Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homes: Outlook, 2001

For the last couple months of 2000, I lived in Outlook, Saskatchewan. I’d been in Europe prior to this and had been applying from jobs from Switzerland. The only place that hired me was the weekly newspaper in Outlook, the town where I went to high school.

So I ended up back in the small town I’d left about 8 years prior. It was very far the opposite of good to be back.

I don’t remember much about the place I lived in other than that was a two-bedroom bungalow, a far bigger space than I needed. The rooms looked painfully bare since I had almost no furniture. I didn’t even bother trying to furnish one bedroom. I remember that I had one of those old televisions that come in a wooden box that weighs as much as a sofa. I didn’t mind the clunkiness of it – was rather glad that it filled the whole corner in which it stood.

As the only reporter at this paper, I wrote most of the articles, took several of the photos. I got to help with layout and learned a few things about production and sales. But being back where I did not want to be was not good. Within a few weeks I was applying for other jobs and luckily had some offers before my probation period was over.

What else to say about this place? Outlook is a small farming community about an hour south of Saskatoon, the city where I went to university. It’s built along a river and is the proud home of Canada’s longest pedestrian bridge - an old train bridge that’s been converted to a pedestrian walkway. It’s there so you can walk across the river to the bald prairie on the other side.

Perhaps when you get to the other side you will wonder why you came, what could have drawn you to a wind-tossed field of dust and grain where you stand in solitary foreignness. So you turn and gratefully find that the bridge leads you right back from whence you came. It’s a long walk, giving you enough time to determine that never will you cross the bridge again.

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