Saturday, October 9…
Thank you all so much for the emails you’ve sent; since I first put up that contact email address, I’ve gotten to hear from a lot more of you. Ah, it gives me faith that at least someone is reading. However, if someone is reading and I’m not writing anything new, I feel rather guilty; I plan to take the next chunk of time to remedy that…
I’m writing this on Saturday night (the 9th), but I’m having some serious connection problems here with my internet…after paying $120/month, I kinda feel like I’m being cheated (yes, I’m trying to be diplomatic in the words I choose – ordinarily I would say something far worse). Basically, this means I have no idea when I’ll get the chance to post it or even check out any of the blogs I usually follow. What good is a long weekend if you’re stuck with no source or entertainment?
Anyway, I made it back to Pang after my whirlwind jaunt to Ottawa and, as expected, returned wishing I had thought to bring other things. I’ll just have to put together a shopping list of things for my friend WHO IS VISITING NEXT WEEK to bring north. Yes, my friend is coming to visit all the way from South Korea. Ok, well, I’m more like a week-long detour for him, but it’s still pretty cool. I haven’t seen him in about 4 years…not since I called Seoul home.
Before I left last week, I was quite relieved that I had already created a phone tree with my students. It was something that we’d put together in case of emergencies, and I had to cancel class…kind of an emergency! I dialed the first number to get the ball rolling, and then continued packing. Well, it didn’t quite go according to plan; in fact, it was like a really bad game of Telephone. Do you remember that game? The one where everyone sits in a circle and passes along a message by whispering in the next person’s ear…the fun part being when the garbled message was compared with the original one?
Ok…original message: School’s cancelled for tomorrow. Tara’s dog’s sick and she’s taking him to Ottawa.
‘Telephone’ message: School’s cancelled. Tara’s dad has to get med-evaced to Ottawa and she’s going with him.
This, as you may imagine, caused quite a stir. Of course there was the concern for my father, but there was also a twinge of indignation with the fact that I had not even told anyone he was in town! For those who assumed he was still in Nova Scotia, they were all worried about what illness would be so severe that he would need to be med-evaced out of the province.
When I returned and the true purpose of my journey was confirmed, I think a lot of people thought my decision to take the dog a bit weak. For all of you out there reading this: my dad is fine and living in Nova Scotia, and my dog is curled up beside me - a true resident of the north.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned going out to see the Northern Lights with a friend. Since that entry focused mainly on my (then) recent consumption of seal eyes, I decided to wait for Sarah’s pics and write about them sometime later. Today is later. Check these pictures out.
Everything looks brighter because the shutter had to be open longer than normal.
The lights were so active that night; you could literally see the undulations with your eyes…amazing. I don’t really know how to describe it. Like a lot of the things I’ve experienced, I feel that to try to put words to it would just sully the whole thing. I’m not gifted enough as a writer to do that. I just hope that my mind is gifted enough to remember the detail…how curtains of green melted from a sharp blade of colour…how clean lines were reduced to smudges then replaced with veins of aquamarine and sky blue…how the slate-coloured mountains and the midnight sky contrasted with the dancing lights…and even how the lights, themselves, reflected off the water. Streaks of abalone in the sky mirrored in the smallest of small ripples of the fjord. Everything pierced with the clearest stars and, other than the small creek, the crashing of absolute silence. The smell of fresh air. The tears in my eyes which were more than just the result of a biting northerly wind.
…ok, enough with the ‘waxing poetic’…
So tomorrow there’s a community feast that sounds exciting…unfortunately, some of the people I know found out about it only after they had made other plans. I’ll be heading over alone. The last time there was a loonie-toonie’ sale I went alone and, as the only qalunaaq there, I was pretty much left in the corner alone. Perhaps if I had kids things would be different; the mothers always seem much more social. Anyway, I hope tomorrow will be better than the first time I tried to join in a community event. If it doesn’t turn out well, my next-door neighbor is having a good old-fashioned turkey dinner…I can probably make it back for leftovers while the rest chat over tea. Either way, I think I’ll eat well.
Before signing out for the evening, I also want to show these pictures…pictures I took off the backstep this evening. Beauty can be measured in so many ways and come in such a spectrum of manifestations; how can one deny the breath-taking effect of a cold Arctic sunset over Cumberland Sound? You can’t. You just can’t.
Monday, October 12…
Well, as it turns out, there was no community feast for me yesterday. Nor was there a turkey. Or anything out of the ordinary other than the feeling that I was going to sink into ‘flu-land’ and build a permanent abode. I woke up feeling ok, but as the day wore on, I just felt worse. With a splitting sinus headache, sore body, and overall general lethargy, I couldn’t make it anywhere. I think someone rang the bell sometime in the afternoon but, by that time, I was pretty out of it. I went back to bed and didn’t really get up until this afternoon. Happy Thanksgiving to me. Boo.
Hmm…I just wrote – then erased – a few more paragraphs. I realized that I was just b*#ching about things that weren’t that serious. I will figure out my internet. I will find a way to make it to the hamlet office to pay my water bill. I will figure out how to get my post office stuff done despite the hours. Thankfully, life goes on.
Today it occurred to me that the gray skies might not be the result of an impending storm. I thought of this as I looked out over the town…the sun had barely made it up over the mountain. Since I’ve been locked up in my house for most of the weekend, I haven’t gotten the chance to ask anyone who might know, but this might be it. This might be the beginning of the days which herald the full-on darkness. Is that another reason I’m so tired? I had assumed it was the flu. Need to work on that one.
Time to sign out with yet another promise to myself to get this posted sometime soon.
Oh, and for those of you who are inclined to read it: Dan Brown’s new book, Deception Point, is quite like a lukewarm bath…it’s not necessarily a complete waste of time, but it’s like Kramer says in one of the Seinfeld episodes: there’s just something wrong about soaking in your own filth. For me, it was the filth of expectations that just weren’t met.
…oh, and if you’re running around the very northern tip of Ellesmere Island (as the characters do in the book), you sure as hell would be wearing some sort of face protection if you ventured outside. Come on Danny-boy!