Friday, March 05, 2010

Arctic sun and northern lights

Lately, I've been missing the north. It's like a phantom pain that throbs every so often. Edmonton is welcoming an early spring this year, and a friend and I took to the trails and had a nice walk today after classes, revelling in the golden rays and the horses along one section of the trail.

And yet, I keep dreaming of the North. Last night, I dreamt that I had returned to Inuvik. My friends from up there and I were seated at a huge wooden table, sipping coffee and enjoying each other's company and humorous stories. I could see the colourful rowhouses of Inuvik outside the window. Smoke was billowing out of the chimneys of the houses and into the deep blue arctic night sky. "Oooh, the northern lights!" I had exclaimed, but was quickly corrected to the fact that it was just smoke I had seen. I felt the urge to leap outside, to run along the snow-packed streets and alleys until I was out of breath, until my heart pounded so hard as though it would burst out of my chest. Then, I woke up....

Here's a Tropicana commercial that had just been released during the Olympics. It was filmed up in Inuvik two months ago. The light that they had used was manufactured in France, and had cost $100 a minute in electricity to operate. The whole production had cost about $1 million. I'm not sure I believe in the magic of an artificial sun; however, the magic of the arctic winter nights definitely comes through in the commercial. I miss the igloo church, the school, the fur-trimmed parkas, the "sunbursts" that surround children's faces.


Yesterday, I had gone to see one of my professors about my midterm exam, but had sat in her office and talked to her about the North instead. As I was relating my experiences, I must have said "I loved it" about ten times. Something deep inside of me tells me that I'll return one day, perhaps not for a five-year stint again, but that I'll definitely walk through those familiar streets again. In the meantime, I remember the magic, and I shall continue to dream.

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