Well, here we are on May 20th and we still have scads of snow. It is, however, melting away. The ditches are now running with water and the roads are wet with red mud. And the mud has a very different consistency up here. It's more silty than what I'm used to from Alberta. It doesn't weigh down your rubber boots like good old AB mud. And today it is -4 so I am feeling a little envious of everyone back home in Edmonton who are experiencing record highs of +31. Oh well. Only 21 more days until I get to come home.
The view today out my window
The last couple of weeks have been quite a whirlwind of activity in terms of my docile Baker Lake life. My friend Jacquie was up for 5 days and we had a fantastic time. It was so great to have someone here from my 'other' life to see what life is like in the north. She had an opportunity to take in a lot of the Hamlet Days festivities, do some sightseeing, go out ice fishing and sledding with a couple of classes from school, and meet a lot of interesting people. I think Baker Lake made a favorable impression on her and the experience will stay with her for a long time.
I'm attaching some pics from her stay here.
Out at the Inukshuk with Jacquie and Oliver
Caribou skin skipping - a caribou skin is bundled up on a rope and the participant has to jump it, always facing the skin (which means twisting in the air to turn to it continually much like a contortionist!). One of the rope turners counts out the beat for the jumping; 1, 2, 3 are half turns and on 4 the rope goes full over the skippers head. Those 4 jumps count as one. Now consider that each skipper jumps 4 times, with 4 mini jumps to position themselves for the next jump. That's 8. One young man jumped 46 times.... times 8. That's 368 jumps!! It was absolutely amazing to see.
Airplane - this is done a bit differently for the males and females. The objective is to be suspended in the air by three people, (one by each arm and one by the legs) and for you to remain rigid. For the girls, you must hold your arms in at the chest and push the knuckles of both fists together. You are timed from 'lift off' until your knuckles separate. For the males, you are suspended by extended arms and are again timed from 'lift off' until your back bows and it's evident you aren't supporting yourself any longer. One of the girls, I was told, had a record of three minutes! I don't know what the personal records are for the boys but the longest I saw was 30 seconds. All of the students were such superb athletes. It was crazy.
The High Kick - That target is 8 feet off the ground!
Going out to The Point to ice fish and sled
Sledding with the kids, or should I say, being dumped by the sled!
Elders and volunteers eating Caribou
Dog sled races - The winning team crossing the line
It's funny because as I write this entry, it's 1:30 a.m., it's still dusk and the seagulls are out in full force, squawking, no doubt telling their friends where the tastiest feasts are to be found under the melting snow.
And, with all of the interesting things I have been fortunate enough to see and experience, this week reinforced for me how far I am from home. A very dear friend of mine passed away early Wednesday morning, losing her battle with cancer. Her name was Caroline Anne Fritz-Dziwenka and she was an amazing lady. I was fortunate enough to have her as my ASL tutor for several years, and more importantly, my good friend. I will always remember her for her support, encouragement, directness, compassion, love of the Royal Family, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and hats, and her dedication to her friends and family. Her laugh was contagious, her sense of humor was quick and 'wicked' and her spirit unwavering, right to the end. I miss her and am sad that I can not be home for the Celebration of Life in her honor. Because she deserves to be celebrated. And remembered always. xoxo CAF