Sunday, June 29, 2008

the loft

These pics are in the yellow and purple colour scheme today. From the bottom; Arctic poppy, Lapland rosebay, Moss campion, and the fourth is unknown to me at this time.

In unrelated news, my neighbour had warned me, but I didn't really take too much notice. It was only a matter of time. My time had come.... (cue spooky music)
Saturday after taking dog out for morning constitutional we had sat down to a nice weekend breakfast. Just as I was picking up my fork, I see a man cross in front of the window, stop, turn and suddenly he is entering the apartment! No, we weren't expecting guests! In walks this man, who neither of us know, the dog trots over as if to greet the stranger. I jump up hollering (he's beyond drunk) and force him out the door! Latched and locked.
He seemed to regard the dog as an unexpected and annoying presence and was resistant but not belligerent. Managing those 28 (yes I know who you are!) steps while drunk would be a death defying feat. Off he goes, I hear his foot fall on the stairs, where he went in the middle of the morning, I couldn't say.

Now this may seem unusual, probably in most places it is plus it would be considered extreme. This is Iqaluit. Anything can and does happen. Door is locked at all times! Windows over walkway sealed for the night.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

never ending twilight

I had never seen such a fiery sky. Truly stunning.
The show is repeating nightly for those of us willing to wait up.
Since bragging rights of living in the arctic are few, I must take this opportunity to say all the pics were taken between 10pm and 1am! Yup, still bright enough to see by!

Our first night with the "new" truck; Alan took
me touring to places too far to walk. Off we go to Upper Base. It is all uphill and the road was quite bumpy and had large holes to negotiate. Once to the top, the view was spectacular and Alan saw (I am never blessed) the snowy owl!

Iqaluit has a history of being a military base and is still used for training exercises. Often new commercial aircraft are brought here to be cold weather tested.

The other photos are overlooking the Sylvia Grinnell river and out my back window.
Near the riverbank the snow sits silently nestled between the rocks. In contrast the mouth of the river runs fast and the falls roaring .

Some things are fleeting and lasting all at the same time. The season is fleeting, the dramatic and harsh landscapes eternal. The sun has it seasons and the wind can be relenting. The constantly changing and never changing mingle everywhere. Here it cannot be mistaken or forgotten. Daily we are reminded that we are just the pawns on the land. Taking whatever comes our way.
My co worker once told me; "don't wait for a good just have to go out and do the things you want to do!" That's true for everyone I suspect!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

summer whites

This is dedicated to the whites of summer. Gardeners may recognize the different blossoms.
From the bottom; labrador tea, arctic bladder campion, arctic heather, the wee scurvy grass (I think?)and top photo is diapensia.
Things just grow smaller here!

The poppy (that's another colour scheme and not pictured here) which in milder climates may attain 12-18 inches in height, forsaking bloom duration for stature. Here the bloom seems a giant next to the smaller plants standing nearly four inches tall and last much longer.

The second plant flowers so small that I am tempted to compare it to the head of a pin.

As dog and I stroll the hillside, I am wracked with guilt and silently apologize for stepping on everyone during the short season. Dog doesn't seem to notice, instead he tippy-toes only when the ground is "too" wet for his liking.

In other news we are closer to owning our own vehicle. Sure I wanted to walk to work, I did, I still do. The perk will be heading out to the park for an afternoon of fishing, walking dog through Sylvie Grinnell Park without the long walk to the park first. But best of all will be not dragging groceries up the hill. Currently I may only purchase a couple days supply (yah friends in the south ..$80-$90) so that it is not exhausting to carry up the hill.
True courage takes place at the checkout. Will I be able to purchase a weeks worth of groceries without wincing?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

summer equinox

Having heard the term land of the midnight sun since childhood, I was determined to stay up for the summer equinox!

The second photo was taken 3 minutes to dawn, the bottom photo at 01:30am - after "sunset".

The first photograph was taken at exactly the moment of sunrise; 02:12am

The eastern horizon is pink now, the sky has traded dusk for dawn.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

whew, and back again

Now I am in the bad habit of telling the back end of a story, then the front end, then the middle. Let me start at the beginning.

My luggage didn't get checked through my transfer...grrr. It's about 400 degrees with the humidex and all I have are jeans, fleece sweater, sneakers and one tee shirt. Sure I know better ...pack clothes in the carry on! One trip
to Value Village, borrowed shoes, gifted toothbrush and three days later I had my luggage.

We feasted on bbq flying fish (my favourite), fresh fruit, lots-o-drink and the evening is complete with good friends lots of stories and music into the steamy spring night. What a great welcome back.

The timing is perfect, with luggage in hand I leave my gracious friends and hosts and hoof on down to London for my daughters graduation. Naturally we have a spa day booked, my poor feet haven't seen the sun in a very long time, never mind feeling the squishy coolness of grass. Sushi lunch completes the afternoon before we grab some groceries.
Once home we promptly discover we are locked out of her townhouse! No need to panic, dinner is in the trunk, steak for the barbie, and salads. Conveniently her neighbour has left her door unlocked so we borrow the needed dishes to have our meal while the landlord finishes his meal before trekking in with a spare key.

The graduation ceremony is well attended with glowing parents and relieved students. After taking this picture of Katie in her gown ( I caught up with her at the snack table) she asked a man to take our picture. As it turns out he is the President of the college and was accompanied by the "official" photographer, who in turn took a picture of the three of us. Eeek where will this turn up? I do not know.

The trip back included a detour to Oakville to dine with Lisa and catch up on the gossip! Her daughter has her own garden marked by Winnie the Pooh!

Once back in Barrie we go our separate ways, I off to spend time with family. The most relaxing day is to come. We go to the park, pack a picnic, (one that doesn't require a pot and stove) and spend the day photographing and catching up on each others lives. Another birthday party, lots o shopping and getting reacquainted with family teens! Oh how could I forget the special sense of humour my sisters children have? Lefty (my nephew) and I bonded again over our leftiness! The fair colouring of my niece was the subject of many beautiful photos, some of them a surprise left for me on the camera!

Special note; as I add pictures it occurs to me that I love the landscapes of Ontario, from the beautiful rolling hills to the colourful patches of farm land. I am surprised that the noise, the pace and the yellowish light all took some adjusting.

Since I'm homeless I head off to another household to finish out my vacation. This one includes small children. Jordan and Joshua. Jordan is five years old and created the salad pictured above. His theme was 5. So there are five leaves of lettuce, five carrots, and five pieces of cucumber, all resting on a nest of salad dressing.

This final week includes wrapping up my shopping, stepping on and off the scales as I adjust the weight in each bag ( the airline would love to get more money from me I'm sure...) more sushi and of course martinis.

Each night is pre-booked and Monday means a meal with a dear friend who makes the extra effort to meet up after work. Hanging out at the bookstore and strolling around the bay. Yes open water for my thirsty eyes. Tuesday garden shopping and planting, Wednesday more good food and Thursday just hanging out for Friday is an early start.

As time was generous; Katie and I spent time shopping for shoes, perfume, cosmetics, coffee! Yes coffee! I shipped some home and carried on the rest. We cleaned out the stock at the grocery store!
Life seemed pretty normal, driving around on errands without the stress of time, deadlines, traffic and the nasty drivers didn't faze me once. Once in a while it occurred to me that this was surreal, soon the trip would end and once again the miles would separate us.

Travel day came quickly. At 3:00am the alarm alarms me into confused wakefulness. The service delivers me to the airport, the transfers go fairly smoothly. Only on boarding the final leg of the trip does it occur to me my camera is missing. I dash off to security where it is secure and is kindly handed over after careful verification. Now for the much anticipated return to the island.
Naturally it doesn't occur to me that lugging 100lbs of luggage up to the tree house apt may pose a problem...until I stand before it. Perhaps bagging the contents into 30 bags and making a dozen trips would be best? Alan rescued me and kindly lugged the luggage to the top.

Home over the bay. Surprises await. The bay shines with open water; shades of blue, the sun brighter than ever, the tundra green and decorated with new summer blooms.

Alan returns after work, dog is trotted down the hill to home again and all is right with the world.

(The photos are in no particular order and were taken by myself, my sister Kelley and my daughter Katie.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


This is a short week for me as I fly off the island before the weekend. With a hectic schedule ahead blogging probably won't happen until my return.

Stay tuned for tales of the south, the hospitality of friends and family await.

This is not an exciting picture, I took it to send to someone in Ontario just after 9pm. Will I be able to sleep when the sun sets so early and completely? Probably very well!

Dog is being farmed out for the away time, perhaps he won't take to howling this time and the sitter can get some sleep too.

See you when I get back!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Jewel Moss

This is Jewel Moss. It adorns the rock surfaces and shares the space with other mosses and lichens. I find it very difficult to photograph but it adds colour to the drab landscape.

Last week it rained here, it shouldn't rain in the arctic but it does now. The morning had a scent of rain on earth and I realized I missed the smells of spring.

Ontario will receive me in a short time, hopefully the rains settle, the driving is friendly and the shops are full.
I will fill my senses with sounds of songbirds, the greenery of trees, various spring blossoms (yes I am shamelessly plucking them from the public gardens!) and the wide open water.
The visits will be all too brief; the catching up too much fun, the foods especially savoury, the shopping plentiful, and the sites and sounds will be both familiar and foreign -- it is the place that I've abandoned.

Not to worry, I love my simple place on the arctic tundra, the rugged beauty of the landscape and the man who I share it all with and I wouldn't have it any other way.