Sunday, December 10, 2006

Joy without and within

I've just had one of the best weekends ever in Inuvik, perhaps one of the best in my life. On Friday, I bumped into a few co-workers while I was on my way to the post office, and we went for supper. We all did some healthy venting after a full week of work. Afterward, I went to visit my friend who had her tonsils out earlier in the week. We watched the most appalling movie together, but I just loved spending that quiet, calm time with her. She's the one I've run to in times of trouble, the one I've sobbed on the phone with, the one who has protected me as a big sister would, the one who has taken me ski-dooing, who has gotten me a Christmas tree.

These past couple of days have been busy. I visited with many people, and attended an intimate house-party on Saturday night. We had to tell our most embarrassing moments, and I almost won the prize by telling about a particularly klutzy experience I had years ago, but when there needed to be a tie-breaker to determine the ultimate winner, I conceded and awarded my co-worker with the prize.

This afternoon, I went dog-sledding with my friend and her mother, who was visiting from Ontario. After an information session / lecture about the possible calamities, we took to the trails that led us to the lake. The first thirty seconds were petrifying. I was doubting whether I could control the dogs, whether I would take a spill, hit a tree, or let the dogs run away with the sled and leave me behind. After that initial time, exhilaration set in, the crisp air filled my lungs, and all was well.

The community Christmas concert took place tonight. All the seats were filled, and the program started with two itty-bitty little ones playing “Joy to the World” on their tiny fiddles. The Gwich'in and Inuvialuit elders took to the stage and sang in their native languages; the local jazz band performed their beautiful sonorous renditions of classics and new favourites. I kept watching the kids scattered all around in their holiday clothes, some in beautiful parkas or fur coats and mukluks.

The experience is different every year. I've gone with a different group of people or person every year. What stays the same is the ability for the music to touch me, to make me get choked up just a little bit, to make my feet tap involuntarily, to make me glad and joyous.

The holiday season has indeed begun.


  1. So you've finally done it. You've finally gone dog-sledding! Was it everything you've hoped for? A month and a half to go :) How does Prague in the summer sound? Can you imagine us scooting around? Think about it!

  2. I love that first photo in this post. Merry Christmas, in case I forget to say it later! Really, have a good one, you certainly deserve it.

  3. Wow...what wonderful memories you have to tuck away in your heart!