Elaine Morin's "Digging in Heels"

by Shaun Hunter

Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers

Nose Hill Park : a centuries-old place for ceremony, burials and writers' imaginations. (Photo:  calgary.ca )

Nose Hill Park: a centuries-old place for ceremony, burials and writers' imaginations. (Photo: calgary.ca)

Four women climb Nose Hill at dusk. Gail leads the way, carrying the remains of a cocker spaniel named King Louie in her arms. It's her daughter's dog, but Hannah is travelling in Southeast Asia – out of contact and leaving Gail to bury King Louie on Nose Hill.


Gail shifted the knee supporting her bundle and glanced at the darkening sky. This was her walk, her undertaking, and there they were, without an ounce of solemnity, yakking away. She would have felt better if Corine hadn’t brought Tessa, another of her pet students in the Faculty of Education. Tessa in high-heeled boots of all things, and some sort of bohemian shawl. At this rate it would take them another hour to reach the site. She was used to being here with Hannah, maybe that was it. They’d begun these nocturnal walks together – had even agreed to bury King Louie up here when the time came. She supposed it was odd to discuss the dog’s death so much before the fact, as if Hannah was waiting. And to bury him here, and not the back garden with the hamsters, but here, on this desolate glacial drumlin. Maybe it was the precarious nature of Nose Hill that drew Hannah, the way it was situated in the city, besieged by an ever expanding mass of neighbourhoods. Or the way the weather could turn.


Elaine Morin, “Digging in Heels,” Castration Lessons and Other Stories (Calgary: Secret Layer Press, 2008)