Saturday, July 7, 2012

Arctic Summer

This beauty is only 3 inches tall.
What a lovely evening I was going to have last night! Purchased my modem in the afternoon. In anticipation of a night with Facebook, I went for a walk straight after work. I was gone for almost two hours. What was frozen only a short week ago has melted, for the most part, and now portions of the tundra are alive with wild flowers and short grasses. Oh yeah, and mosquitoes and blackflies and no-see-ums. A couple of evenings ago, I decided to walk "off road," through the golf course, to avoid the plumes of dust riled up  by passing ATVs and trucks. There were a few bugs, but they weren't bad. Then  decided I had to play with the macro on my camera and snap a few pictures of the tiny wildflowers that painted the normally barren landscape, so I stepped onto the tundra from the dirt road. NEVER do that, folks. It is an open seating dinner invitation to every six legged creature with wings. Even if you sport bug repellent as I did, you can imagine there are many hardy, hungry creatures out there determined to harvest your blood. It's not like there is much for them to chose from out there. Still haven't seen a musk ox. Except for the stuffed one in the airport. Maybe he stepped on the wrong piece of tundra too.
Last night's meander took me on the road towards Mt. Pelly, a rocky (what else?) land formation about 15K from here. I went as far as the bridge a kilometer from town as the crow flies, closer to two because of all the dipsy doodles and curves in the road. The river that had been iced over was now flowing freely. I turned onto a small road beside the bridge, and found remnants of camps, and sand spits that contained a chair or two for the fishermen that would soon troll the shores for the summer bounty of fish. The water looks shallow, but is beautifully clear. I stuck a hand into it, and sure enough it was icy cold. On the way home I spied 3 children on the banks further down toward the river, in their skivvies, jumping in and out of that river, laughing and giggling and having a grand old time chasing each other on the sand. The air temp is hovering around 20C, which is unseasonably warm for this time of year. Actually for anytime of the year, here, that is.
I walked into one of the town cemeteries that lays on a rocky ridge. I like cemeteries. They all have so many stories to tell, and they leave much to the imagination. Here, the graves are marked by wooden crosses, some painted white, others in natural wood. Some are small in stature, others are a commanding presence. Some marked with fading paint with the names and the dates of death. More recent ones have engraved plaques that leave you wondering, why so young? Why so old? Some graves are encircled by rocks, some painted, some not. Many are completely covered with artificial flowers and wreaths, the odd stuffed Snoopy or a baseball cap implanted. Most look well tended, but as with any graveyard, there are those that seem neglected, the fake posies having faded from many years in the sun, the painted names no longer readable. As I said a few silent prayers for all the souls interred in the rock, I wondered who will pray for me when I have been gone a while, will anyone ever look at my grave and wonder who I was, who my family was, and wonder how I mattered in life? Will a prayer ever be said by a stranger, wondering what stories lie within?
The walk ended on a high note, with me skipping away, I even ran a few paces in spite of my sore heel. I was going to cook dinner, and entrench myself in my apartment with my soon to be hooked up internet. Facebook! Yahoo! The ability to pay bills on my own computer! And.....nothing. The newly purchased modem didn't work. I think the graveyard residents could hear the f-sharps echoing across the land. And so I was forced into another night of DejaView TV. As you can tell, I have remedied the situation quite nicely.
I work with a lot of younger nurses up here, at least younger by my standards, and I have to wonder when my neck became attached to my chin? Really? I have been heavier than I am now, and I used to have a jawline then. Now it seems the turkey wattles are forming. And we are not amused.
1230 AM. My kingdom for a night. Or a knight.
The parade of craftsmen has started here, checking out the new nurse to see what she will buy. Well, she told one entrepreneur on the street that she wanted the ring carved from musk ox horn, but he had to come by the clinic during regular business hours when she would be sure to have the cash to pay for it. Guess he slept in or something. Geez, I tried to wear a part of a musk ox, and couldn't. I think, however, there are plenty of 2-legged ones roaming the streets on the weekends.
It is just after midnight as I write (type, compose, whatever), and I can see that the sun is looking like it wants to set. I am craving darkness and an open window. Well, I have the open window, but it is blocked by a supposed  black out blind (ha!), some sheer drapes, two quilts and assorted push pins. And a chair. The light shines through still. I checked on the internet, and the sun will set for the first time since May on July 23rd. For an hour or so, in the middle of what the rest of the world would call "night." If I had champagne, I would drink a toast!
And that is my world for the moment.

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