Place of Many Fish

The North is poetry for the eyes.
Beauty defying description, long pauses, deep breaths.
The rhythym and meter are different here.
Friendships are many-stranded, tightly woven.
Folk just step in to say hi, stop by for a chat on the way to and from the grocery store (where milk is $13.75 for a 4L bag).
With three growing kids in the house, that’s a lot of chats.
It’s been three days of non-stop sunshine and t-shirt weather.
It’d be heaven, but for the bugs.
Mosquitos, the curse of the land. The sun mocks us with its siren call, a lure for uncovered skin.
The bugs feast in swarms, at least a few vying for every square inch.
Every time we close the car doors, we spend a vigorous minute “dying” the bugs (as my nieces like to say).
Black smears of victory streak the windows on the inside, rivulets of dust on the outside.
Today, we saw a truck watering the road with saltwater: roadside dust control.
Child-rearing is different here too, an unspoken community pact of loving neglect.
Laisser-faire parenting.
With a 30Km speed limit and no traffic lights, every truck tire loudly crunching the dirt and dust, no yard fences or sidewalks or curbs, and an unquestioning pride in children being the most important resource there is, kids here roam as freely as the ravens.
Games of pick-up tag at the park. Making your own fun with whatever’s at hand. An assumption that kids should just play; no scheduled playdates, no after-school martial arts or swimming lessons to get to on time, no focused one-on-one teachable moments.
There may be something to it.
Then again, I’ve never met kids more starving for attention than the ones here. Hangers-on at every park, endless look-at-mes, class-clown behaviour everywhere.
A mother with her infant cuddling her back, arms around her neck, tucked into her traditional garb hood – while driving an SUV.
There may be something to my bureaucratic, citified, scheduled, over-stimulated world too.
But walking the tundra on the way to the playground with the kids, I relish every quiet, uneven, rocky, unplanned, squishy step.
Last molded by glaciers, rucked and tucked, I am adding my imprint to unfathomable history.
Timeless time.
There is a connection here, renewed with every glance out the window, every footstep.
A reminder that we don’t shape the land, even with our intentional and unintentional alterations; it shapes us.


1 comment so far

  1. Jingle on

    rich words, well done.

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