posted on Aug, 6 2005 @ 07:19 AM
Oh, what a remarkable experience DE has portrayed for us as victim to a torture chamber replete with, no doubt, happy colours, antiseptic furnishings
gleaming through tears, musack tinkling nondescript melodies while an adlibbing executioner and his lovely assistant wield their terrible tools in
front of his terror stricken eyes.
I, and, no doubt many of you as well, trembled in sympathy at his helpless plight, sighing in relief towards the end of the story that all worked out
But, this is not the reason I'm posting on this thread, for, indeed, to me, it was the description of Sudbury which prompted me to add the wonder
nature and Canada's northern regions.
For my story, I must reach deep into the memories bag. The time was 1971 and I was a young man of 24 years, married, with a babe-in-arms, when
circumstance drove me to the employment opportunities to be found in the North-West Territories. On the northern shore of Great Slave Lake lies the
small community of Yellowknife. named for a tribe of Native Americans who, at one time, lived there.
The town is actually two places...Old town and New Town. The former is an island seperated from the shore by a small channel while the latter tumbles
down a sloping swath of bedrock towards it. Old Town, as the name implies, has long been around, since the Hudsons Bay Company had established a
trading post there over a century ago.
But that's enough of it's sometimes tragic history, for it has many stories to tell, this town of trappers and miners in the Land of the Midnight
Sun. I want to tell you of some of it's finery, just as DE did while talking about Sudbury.
The summers do actually have the sun shining 24 hours a day as it wheels through the sky and it is not unusual for weekend warriors to go swimming at
midnight or take advantage of the extended daylight to party hardy all 'night' long.
The opposite, though, happens in December and darkness reigns supreme over this land of white. The skies sparkle with multitudes of stars impossible
to imagine until you've seen for yourselves. The Milky way is so dense, it almost seems heavy, defying gravity to pull it to ground, while the Aurora
Borealis sweeps across this veil of the cosmos in colours ranging from electric greens to vibrant oranges and sultry reds. As you stand in the
absolute silence of the North, where not even the distant whine of a truck sullies your ears, you can indeed hear the Aurora crackling through the
The air is usually quite still, so even the wind is hushed as you stand in awe of one of the greatest sights you could imagine on this planet. As you
stand upon the ancient bedrock, surveying the universe, one can sense the rolling planet beneath your feet as it rushes around the sun. Your place in
the universe is planted permanently in your brain and you feel a oneness, a sympathy as clear as DE's plight in the dentists office, that you are
Later, as you walk back towards the dark town, pillars of steam are etched against the blackness of space, popping up here and there as if some Mordor
lay ahead, pumping out Orcs for the Illuminati plot. But, no, these are doors opening willy nilly as people exit their homes to go to work, do the
laundry or some such. The vapour laden air from inside escapes and produces a pillar a hundred feet high every time.
Timber wolves and sled dogs run together through the town, now and then, in homage to the wildness of the place, while ravens talk silliness from atop
poles, answering you in comic languages you can only hear for yourself...description is impossible. Walking on towards your home, you might see
Ptarmigan, a small bird much like a grouse, its plumage a ghostly white, running ahead of you on impossibly quick legs. These birds are the most
delicious little 'chickens' you'd ever had on your plate and yet they are commonplace.
The first person you meet on the streets as you get closer to home, you know, and he/she nods gravely as is the custom there. To not acknowledge is
somehow 'Southern', disdainful and a sin amongst those who actually live in this community so close to the Yukon. Besides, you actually do know that
person, you've seen them a hundred times on a hundred days.
But, before I get too longwinded and get accused of being verbose, I must tell you, dear reader, of the most awe inspiring sight afforded in this
remote place on earth. It is the experience of 'Ice Fog' which has burned itself into my memory, never to be supplanted.
Imagine, if you can, a brightly sunlit spring morning, when the snows of winter still lie deep upon the ground and the temperature still dips to a
bone chilling 20 below zero F. The windless air is clear, and yet is full of diamonds sparkling every colour a prism can manage. These minute
crystals, suspended and turning, flash hues unimaginably beautiful. Buildings, bare trees, vehicles, parking meters...all of it, everything is covered
with a frosting of these crystals. The entire town, and all of it's features are thickly coated and all of it is like an impossible dream.
Oh, the North has a lure, alright, and it is a call I will ever hear because, like DE and his love of Sudbury, once you are smitten, dear reader, you
are sunk, and wherever you may wander upon this wondrous world, if you close your eyes, you see the fantasy of the ice fog and, if you listen
carefully, you can hear the electric swishing of the Aurora, the lonely call of the timber wolf and the silence of the North calling you back to a
place where you're a stranger only the first day you're there.
I beg you, dear fellow travellers upon this planet, don't ignore the far North, wherever you may live. Go there and experience a wonder of winters'
glorious finery unparalled and be amazed.