How this Blog works

Thank you for visiting my blog, I really appreciate your ongoing interest and support.

- For regular updates related to my travels, guiding work, film and book events or you are simply wondering where the heck I am at the moment, please visit: Travel/Guiding/Adventure blog.


-For South Georgia Expedition and Albatross updates as well as environmental articles of interest, please check out: Oceanmaid Ventures blog site )the site that you are currently on.

Cheers and thanks for your interest. Hayley

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Churchill Tale

It is the night of Halloween in Churchill town; all the kids are primed and prepared to fill the dim lit streets with spooky costumes of all styles and imagination. Goblins, ghosts and gremlins slide along the snow stacked streets on sleds, pulled by patient parents. Tap-tap-taps on neighborhood doors by kids of all shapes and sizes, igniting the excitement and anticipation of this annual candy harvest. The people of this community come together to support this kid occasion in the Sub-Arctic region where the ponderous Polar bears wander. The police and conservation officers patrol the outskirts of town in pursuit of a spontaneous drop-in visit by the staunch and powerful Ice bear. In the coolness of an evening, the bears become more active, following their curious nose and empty bellies which at times brings them to the fringes of this town. A town that happened to be built upon the polar bear route that leads them to the edge of the Hudson Bay where the first ice forms. A frisky, frigid breeze whips along the narrow roads, picking up drifts of loosely scattered snow, and like the tail of a kite it weaves its way with twists and turns along the surface of the graveled road. And amongst this chilly night, covered with the thickest winter coat of any Arctic animal, the Arctic Fox soon shows itself, it too hoping for a bit of foraging action. With its slender snout held low to the ground every delicious scent gets noticed, as it trots along in the black of the night, scavenging on restaurant castaways. It is fantastic to know what is north of here, beyond the Hudson Bay where by now the ice has already started to form. A ready laid table for polar bears, this ice platform creating an opportunity for them to hunt from and gain a bite to eat for the first time since early June. And in the thickets of the Boreal forest, the sprawl of Spruce trees disintegrate as the journey north begins, opening up the horizon toward the tattered land of Tundra. These earthy tones of winter willow stretch for hundreds of Arctic miles, with a vibrant break of luscious orange from the lichen laced rocks. Eventually it gets far too cold for plants that grow higher than ones big toe, the ice laden winds would strip any life of a branch exposed. The land is soon transformed into an immense carpet layer of humble, hardy foliage that hides from this northern harshness, utilizing the insulation of its low lying neighbors. Ahh… the great white north where the hefty Muscox ramble, winterized in their shabby thermal coats sharing the land with Arctic rodents and the few birds which come prepared – the wise Snowy Owl, the gregarious Raven, and the chubby Willow Ptarmigan. The great whales hang about in open leads after a summer of abundant feeding, their time for freedom when local hunters have their mind on other creatures to feed their families. It is time for the hunt of the seal where they pursue just like the Polar bear, near breathing holes on the ice, driven by dogs they sled across the ice in search of food. The water ways we travel the islands we explore and the beaches we tread upon, are soaked in ancient history of a traditional and explorative kind. I think about the many men who perished in search of the North West passage, struck by ice and stuck in ice, these men unable to survive in such unimaginable conditions. From East to West and only weeks ago, I cruised through this historic path with hardly a chunk of ice to be seen. Global Warming is the talk on the buggies and most are here for the very reason that perhaps time is running short for those who wish to see the Polar Bear. The snow came late this year and at the end of October, the bugs were still about. Bears arrive on the shores of the Hudson Bay much smaller than they once were and fewer cubs are being born. Signs and symptoms of changing times are vivid with every glance, and all I wish and hope for is that all those who feel concern and who care for the future of our earth, take the simply measures to change some of the things that we do in our daily lives that could make a difference. A knock at the door tears me away from this tale and upon my approach towards my front entrance I hear the laughter of happy little (sugar-filled) humans. The door creeks as I pull it ajar and standing before me is a magnificent wizard, a plumpish precious bumble bee, and shyly in the background is a little skunk with a long and trailing tail….”Trick or Treat” they scream, and then giggle a bit, with eager out stretched hands. I’ve always been curious as to what the ‘trick’ entails therefore ask if I can do both. A little stunned, the colorful crowd standing before me, agrees to my wish with the encouragement of a patient parent. I throw my ‘ready and waiting’ handfuls of Cadbury mini bars in the wide open rims of their cloth bags and wait eagerly for the trick. Following a nervous titter from the older kids, a blast of florescent tainted string of goo flies out from a can the wizard is holding. I failed to notice that the skunk had wrapped my knees and lower legs with the very same slippery substance. I laughed at their cheekiness then thanked them for the decorations and soon they were on their way, trundling along the street to another awaiting household.

No comments:

Search This Blog