Monday Morning Musings

Posted on February 1, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Smitten with my new mittens


“I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere, man,

Crossed the desert’s bare, man, I’ve breathed the mountain air, man,

Of travel, I’ve had my share, man,

I’ve been everywhere.

I’ve Been Everywhere. Hank Snow

I’ve been to the Coop, man,

I’ve been to the Northern, man,

I’ve been to the clinic, man,

I’ve been everywhere.

I mean no disrespect to Hank Snow nor my adopted village of Kangiqsujuaq. I have done my share of traveling over my lifetime. I have been in some of the hottest places on earth and now one of the coldest and coolest places. I have met so many remarkable people and hope to meet many more. That’s if we are ever able to travel anymore.

At Christmas, I decided that traveling anywhere was going to be complicated and potentially dangerous. I stayed in the north and as I have documented in this space previously, I had one of the most enjoyable and memorable Christmases ever.

Now, I am staring at Spring Break and the oddsmakers are painting a rather bleak picture about travel anywhere except to the grocery store. Travel restrictions around the globe are piling up quickly. It is not surprising that Canada is facing problems with delivery of the game changing vaccines. Rarely have 7 billion people all wanted the same thing at the same time. There is only so much production capacity. Finger pointing is not particularly useful. The vaccine will arrive when it arrives. If we were the only country stuck in the mud, spinning our wheels, I might be annoyed. Just watch the BBC news on any given night and you will find similar situations in almost every country. I wish that there was such pent up demand for my books!

I am sure that I will have a wonderful spring break in the north but visiting friends and families would have been great too. It seems like our lives are in suspended animation.

I am involved in an after school activity with another colleague. We have a small chorale group of young girls. Last year, this group had a big excursion planned to travel to Montreal but Covid scuttled that. This year we had hoped to travel somewhere in the region, possibly another village, but alas this is not going to happen. The good news is that we have a world class National Park right in our backyard. Well, not quite in our backyard. It’s a 5- hour skidoo ride to get to Pingualuit. We have our group booked in to go there at the end of April. Our plan is to produce a music video featuring songs in Inuktitut, English and French with Mother Nature (and a giant crater) as the backdrop.

I would love to be able to say that I skillfully made the incredibly warm mittens shown in the picture above. Yes, there is a small piece of me in these pualuuks… probably blood from stabbing myself repeatedly with a sewing needle. I attended a couple of sewing classes before Christmas and was able to stitch some of the rabbit fur to the leather in the hand of the pualuuks. Classes ended before I had a chance to really learn the skills necessary to make the mittens and complete my project. My teacher, Jessica, had all of my material in her sewing bag. January zipped by (as all months seem to do) and a few days ago, one of the teachers approached me with a bag from Jessica with the finished product. She is an amazing person, and I am so grateful to have yet another souvenir from my time in the north. When I eventually make my way back home, I am not sure what I will do with all my acquired winter wear. It wouldn’t be practical in Nova Scotia or Africa.

Africa? Huh?

I have been intrigued with Africa all of my life. I won’t stay in the north forever. My next stop could be Africa. I have two volunteer opportunities that I’m looking into, realizing, of course, that neither Africa nor Antigonish are accessible for me these days! I’ll keep you posted.

Have a great week.

P.S. I started to read a new book on the weekend. Thanks to GMD for sending this to me. In the forward to the book by Barry Lopez called “Arctic Dreams” I read this quote from N. Scott Momaday. It beautifully describes what I have been unable to articulate during my time in the north.

“Once in his life, a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth. He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience; to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder upon it, to dwell upon it. He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it. He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. He ought to recollect the glare of the moon and the colors of the dawn and dusk.”


Finally finished my Christmas puzzle!

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