Wednesday, May 07, 2008

One less time

Every morning, when I walk to work, I’d think about how it would be one less time I’d ever make that seven-minute trek. My friend A lives six houses down the street, and some mornings, I would see him emerge from behind the picket fence, and we would send each other on our separate ways. On my right, a wide open field is completely covered in snow. If I look carefully, I would be able to make out the skidoo trails that swerve all over this blank landscape. A few years ago, I would routinely cut through this field to get to work, except it was not a field then. It was covered in spruce trees then, a little wooded area where I occasionally saw arctic hare and baby foxes. The forest had been leveled to make way for new housing developments a few years back, but other than the few houses far off in one lonely corner, it is still a blank field of snow. In a few weeks, it’ll turn into a marsh as the snow melts, and then into a hardened, dusty patch akin to moonscape once the arctic summer sun parches the earth. A little farther along on my sojourn, I would encounter J in her red station-wagon, usually right around the stop-sign where I turn, and we would wave to each other, she in her exaggerated motion, I in my muted way, with just a slight curl of my gloved fingers.

In the winter, the sight of the dark field would remind me to look up at the stars and the aurora. As the light returned, my walk to work would coincide with the sunrise, when the dramatic sweep of reds and oranges reflected off the ice crystals on the ground. Now, there is full daylight, and sometimes, the overcast sky would meld so utterly and wholly with the snowy field that I would feel so small and insignificant, and so special at the same time.

In a month and a half, I will walk along this same street for the last time....


  1. Sounds as though you'll really miss the North when you leave. I can't even imagine what it must be like to live there. I'm so used to the city, and have never seen the northern lights or a fox by my house. Thinking of you.

  2. You've made up your mind and are leaving Inuvik for sure? You'll be great wherever you decide to go, I have no doubt in my mind.

  3. It amazes me how you take a normal daily routine and make a story of it.