Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Heaving World

The Mackenzie has been flowing, clear of ice, since Monday. Last weekend, I had gone down by the river and watched the ice-jam. It was incredible to see the tonnes of ice and debris drifting slowly toward the ocean. I felt that I was bearing witness to something monumental, something so much greater than my little self. The world was heaving, bidding the long months of winter goodbye. Soon, the pink and purple wildflowers will dot the gravel roadside. They are the true sign that summer is upon us, that my year of teaching is almost over. Had my first barbecue of the year on Monday, although the day was grey and cold. My friend and I fired up the wood barbecue, although I must admit that my part in the venture was reduced to merely crumpling up some paper lunch bags and stuffing them in.

I've rediscovered Rilke's poetry this past week, and it has helped me through some disquieting turmoil, both in and out of work. Through our separateness, our urge to be seen and heard binds us together:

Despite everything, as if they were things,
people walk right by, and so they must sing.

And one hears good music there.

I've also gone around and taken pictures of the town, including the inside of the North Mart, of the produce and the dairy sections. (Note the $12.99 cauliflower and the $7.99 milk on almost-empty shelves.)

It's almost as though I'm preparing myself to leave Inuvik, and want to remember everything that has encompassed this whole experience. The new Mackenzie hotel is slated to open in a couple of weeks. It'll be a welcome addition and will be a new distraction for a month at least.

Africa will have to wait until next year. I'm not prepared to go on a trip based on a last-minute whim (although I've obsessed about it for years). I need to do more research and some long and careful planning. As of now, it seems as though Seoul is the way to go.

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