Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brain Freeze and Snow Drifts

Fresh air for kids is something I deem to be important. I have always felt that they need to be outside, stretching and playing and breathing the air.

Environment Canada has the temperature with windchill for Ulukhaktok to be negative 34 degrees Celsius. This isn't near the coldest I've felt but my goodness this town has nothing to block that wind.

We fought for half an hour to get the babes ready. Brody does NOT under any circumstances, even on the best of days, enjoy getting geared up for the outdoors. We managed to walk to the Northern... which is about 3 minutes away before we had to get indoors and warm up. The little hairs on my face were instantly fusing to my neck warmer and I actually had a cold headache, the kind you get when you drink a slushy too fast. My brain was freezing in the cold wind.

We got out just in time to catch the light. It barely sticks around at all. Around 11 am, I enjoy watching the pink sky to the left of the house as the sun tries to push through, and at the same time, watching the moon to the right of the house, still lighting the town. It feels almost like watching a wrestling match and knowing that the sun is getting weak and will soon give up the fight.

While out in the light, I got to see the six foot (+) snow drift that had formed on the road next to our house after yesterdays winds. No wonder I felt lost as I tried to walk through it in the pitch black of yesterday evening, with only the tiny illuminated window from our garage to assure me that I was still heading in the right direction.

It's the tiniest things that remind me that I am further North than I ever have been.

Brody's typical outer wear - though on days like today, he is also inside my amauti which acts as a second parka for him.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sunrise and Sunset in Ulukhaktok

I've never seen a sunrise, a sunset or a moon like I have in Ulukhaktok.

For a few weeks now I have been working as a substitute teacher at Helen Kalvak School here in Ulu. The classroom that I have been in for the majority of the time has windows that span the entire side of the room and has one of the most gorgeous views that I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

I've seen a lot of sunsets and a lot of full moons. But I have never seen a sky like the one here. When it isn't covered in a think blanket of cloud, it is majestic. It is a source of inspiration and radiates life. I feel full when the sunset shines pink and gold through my soul. I feel full of awe when the moon and the stars glow the way they only could atop of an unpolluted night sky, in a quiet, dark town in the middle of nowhere. I feel close to God when I look out through the windows in this town.

I cannot photograph the sky to do it any justice. I cannot come close to capturing the way that this town takes my breath away.

The sun doesn't last long anymore. We are about to lose it completely until somewhere near mid January when it will return for the same kind of peek-a-boo appearances.

During the one hour class I've been teaching from 1:30 to 2:30, the sun has been both rising and coming close to setting. By the time I leave at 3:45pm it is dark again.

View of the sunrise from the front of the school

View of the school parking, now mostly snowmobiles, the playground, the Ulukhaktok community center and the town

Sunset with a view of the other playground, the town and the RCMP station on the right
When I left work the moon was just coming up over the hills, it was an image of perfection. The moon, full and round and bright white. I wanted to share it, to lasso it. I wish with all of my being that the people I love could be here to see what I get the chance to see.