Saturday, 28 November 2015

Where Winter is Greeted with Delight

One of my favorite things about Labrador is that I no longer dread winter. In Nova Scotia, and before that in Ottawa, my spirits would sink into my mukluks as the dread season approached. By February and March I'd be beside myself with hatred of snow and ice and black ice and more snow and most of all, of lousy driving conditions.

Here in Labrador, winter is anticipated with delight. The former mayor was just over to our house and he was exclaiming how happy he was that the colder temperatures had FINALLY arrived. It is minus fifteen today and sunny as can be. Why does he and most of the others here want that low temperature? Why, so the bay will freeze of course, and the snow-goes can be brought out. So folks can get to their cabins, and ice fishing can commence.

We have no cabin - feeling no longing to escape the hurly-burly of downtown North West River (population 523 on a fat day). We do have Uncle Dick's snowmobile. I don't love it - racketing along with the bumps and dips of the land or bayscape. But I do love walking along the shore instead of slogging through the woods and that is easy-peasy once the bay has frozen tight. And I love the infinite variation of snow and ice forms along the shore - the ballycatter, the crazy candle-ice of spring, all of it. The ice makes a poetic long-line showing where the determined tide still manages to effect its design.

Here are some photos of my walks to work this week. I will also include a photo of the lighting of the kudlik - a soapstone lamp used for centuries by the Inuit. Miriam Lyall, an Inuk from the coast, came to our centre to show our families how it is done.

 the road I live on...
  A view of Upalong from the bridge.

Miriam lights the kudlik

 the hills behind Little Lake with their dusting of snow

 the hill from the bridge where I work.