When I was a child my imagination was captured reading about and listening to people talk about far away places. I was fascinated by the differences in everyday life. This included, thanks to school units on the Inuit culture of Canada, the far north. I did travel to Ft Nelson, Watson Lake and Whitehorse as a twenty something, but strangely I have few sensory memories of that trip. But this month I got to go again and this time right into the Arctic Circle, visiting Inuvik, YK and Tuktoyaktuk, NWT.
I know I can not possibly convey anything but surface impressions, but my poetic heart tries anyway. My fifty year old self is looking for something more than the thrill of travel. I wanted to meet the residents, get a feel for the space, feel some everyday rhythms, listen to their experiences and history and try to understand, as an outsider — how it is for them now. There are so many changes pressing on all of us; what does that look like in the far north?
I’ll get to those things, but what surprised me initially was the way I relaxed into the space that is the north. I described it in a Facebook post as a place where my soul is at home. Click here to read that poem — but the blue edge of the horizon isn’t finished with me yet…
The long thin line of the horizon
soothes and opens my soul.
It pulls me out of myself
to rest between heaven and earth,
invites me to stretch my gaze
first right, then left, leisurely
in a satisfying soul stretch; I crave
open spaces, called flat and empty
by some, but I see the sky
ever changing, projecting magnificence
on the first and best big screen
ever created. It is a towering
infinite invitation to soar…
and that long thin line is my favorite
open armed welcome.
© 2018 – Laurel Archer
Stay tuned for more from ‘A Winter Holiday’. Photo credits: Laurel Archer.