November 29, 2009

A lesson in optimism

Those of you who've visited this blog before may have noticed I changed its name. It occurred to me the previous moniker, YOU'VE NEVER BEEN HERE, probably came off more hostile than satirical, as I'd intended. Also, I can't stand all uppercase. I don't know what I was thinking.

Besides making vague and slightly cliched reference to my geographical location, this new title matches my writing process. I think we'll be very happy together. It's likely, though, that my few readers couldn't care less what I name these ramblings and I'm lucky to have readers in the first place. So, moving along.

I have a week to enjoy the sun before it disappears until next year. As of Dec. 5, little orphan Annie is wrong: The sun will not come up tomorrow. Next Sunday is expected to be the first day of about a month of darkness in the arctic. The town of Inuvik is set to celebrate the sun's return with its annual Sunrise Festival on Jan. 9. Right now we're down to about two hours of daylight, which has felt kind of surreal. While out and about yesterday around 3 p.m., I saw the moon rising on my left and the sky still pink from sunrise on my right.

One of my last sunrises of 2009, photographed Nov. 28 at 12:30 p.m.

Thanks to my experience living nocturnally throughout university, I don't anticipate spiralling into depression because of a lack of natural light. But just to keep the positive energy flowing, and throwing "balanced" journalistic convention to the wind, I've decided to share some of the things that make me happy to be here. Here goes.

Things I like about living in Inuvik (in no particular order):
  • Never missing a November sunrise
  • The view of the Mackenzie River through my window
  • Walking downtown in the morning as the only pedestrian
  • Reading the "social bulletin" board at the post office
  • Wide open space
  • The underfoot crunch of dry snow
  • Town council meetings
  • The smell of wood stove smoke
  • Endless summer days
  • Taking Inuvialuit language and culture lessons from a nine-year-old
  • Tracking down people's unlisted phone numbers by calling anyone with the same last name
  • Being completely unreachable when I want to be
  • Being completely connected when I want to be
  • Writing about polar bear sightings, whaling camps, seal hunts, but mostly about people
  • Eating bannock and char
  • Seeing someone I know at the grocery store every time
  • Meeting the many eclectic and engaging personalities who also make their homes here
It occurs to me how many of the above only encourage my loner tendencies. Hrmm. Well, I've heard it said that these dark arctic winters bring people together.

And on that note, here's a song that makes me happy.

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