Sue Wheeler’s new book of poems, Habitat (Brick Books), which I read on the brink of winter in Alberta, took me back to a time I lived on the west coast of B.C., where winter was listless and wet, none of this chinook then snow, chinook then snow I’ve grown used to. These poems are small windows into a woman’s island life, replete with gardens, grey skies and questions that I don’t know the answers to. (“What dream pulled this hummingbird / over rock and sea and weather / to the one Mahonia japonica in a 5-mile radius / just coming into bloom?”) Canadian writers often concern themselves with place and the unanswerable mystery of where (how) to belong, perhaps because there is so much space, perhaps because so few of us can trace our roots right back to the actual land we live on. Wheeler locates herself among flowers, songbirds and months that bleed into each other. A mix of careful images and small stories are handholds for the reader to manoeuvre through another life. “Place / was the earth’s hot romance,” she says, and I’m back again to the strange, drastic seasons of home.