On a recent -40C morning, I was impressed by the blanketed quiet and ice fog-dominated atmosphere. The only sound was the crackling of my clothing and bag as they became deep-freeze cold. It was dark as I walked to work, but later as the sun began to rise, it looked like this:
Visibility wasn’t great until the day started lightening and it became a little warmer. It was one of those mornings that produced some rather heavily frost-encrusted eyelashes. When I came inside, I briefly held them with my fingers to melt the ice.
Hiding under all that fog was an intensely blue sky and the whitest white snow, almost blue itself. It turned into a very beautiful day with almost blindingly bright sun, even though it was incredibly cold outside.
Right now we are surviving temperatures that are about -35 C. That’s pretty cold although I have experienced colder. When it’s this cold, it’s hard to remember that summer existed. It’s just a dim memory.
I pass this bush every day on my way to work.
And yup, I walk to work. Driving is not worth the trouble it would cause to start a vehicle.
It’s so cold that they have to be plugged in. And then there’s the scraping of windshields, the running of engines and the effort to get them out of the latest layer of new snow, even if I do have a 4×4. Needless to say, I don’t have a garage, which ironically, is something I’ve always had in the south. Up here, there aren’t many of them. For them to be of any real use you would have to heat them, and that makes them very expensive.
So, I walk to work. It takes seven minutes to get my gear on, seven minutes to walk there, it’s dark, and every bit of me is covered except my eyes. I peer under my big hat and over my balaclava. I’m under the time limit for frostbite to exposed skin in -35C, although a little wind can rapidly change that formula. A few days ago, I thought I had frostbite on my cheek, but no, it was just rather cold.
Everything is slower and takes longer. It’s life in the north. 🙂
You might see a little something, but you will have to enlarge it – a lot.
Living north of 60 degrees N latitude means that the Aurora is spectacular. From the south, the Aurora assumes a fairly standard curtain-like shape. It hangs there high in the sky, its undulating green hem twinkling in the solar breeze. But It’s not always readily visible from the south (and by south I mean southern Canada). There’s light pollution, the earth’s position and distance to consider.
From here, however, it’s a different story. It’s a living shape – swirling into seashells and lodgepoles and disappearing into the horizon in a smoky streak.
You can see stars through it.
So, why don’t I have a better photo to share with you? Well, it’s a long story. Actually, no. It’s not. It’s a simple story.
I forgot my camera. Again.
My M and I were driving back from grocery shopping – we have to drive an hour and a half for that – and we had made a bit of an evening of it, too. A meal in a restaurant, like that.
It was about 10 pm when we started back and by then it was completely dark – a great opportunity to see and photograph the Aurora.
But the photo you see here was taken using my cell phone, and with something like the Aurora, that doesn’t work.
So I was a little pissed at myself for not bringing my camera, even though I knew there was a good chance that I would see the Northern Lights.
Essentially, I didn’t do my due diligence.
Sometimes, that’s not important. It winds up just being irritating. But at other times, it can be downright dangerous. You wouldn’t want to fly with a pilot who hadn’t done her due diligence, for instance.
And then there’s the inbetween. Where you’re warned that you need to pay attention, that you’re getting complacent, that there is potential danger. For instance, that maybe your ex-narcissist is still lurking, still checking, still trying.
That happened to me last June.
All of a sudden, there he was, demanding my attention.
I hadn’t thought about him in any real way in a long time. Yes, I’d written about my experiences with him, but from the perspective that he was out of my life, that my chances of any kind of contact with him were becoming more and more remote with the passage of time.
But then, in June, he started actively trying to find me. And the indirectness of his actions scared me because his past attempts to re-establish contact had been very front and centre.
He went to my last workplace, claiming to be my spouse and asking for directions to my office. HR denied him any information and then phoned to let me know – the person he spoke with knew he wasn’t my husband and also didn’t like the vibe she got from him. So she took it upon herself to phone a former employee to give a heads up.
Then there was Dan, my son’s dad. We hadn’t spoken in a long time, but he phoned to tell me that Harry, my ex-narcissist, had called him looking for my address. Dan was concerned because he knew that I had experienced a lot of trouble with Harry.
Two warnings. Both from people who didn’t have to do anything.
Harry’s indirect approach had me worried. This behaviour told me he was planning some sort of trap or ambush. M advised me to go to the police.
I was in the process of organising that in my head when … my phone rang.
It was Harry.
There was an immediate ten minutes of non-stop murmle, murmle, murmle. It came pouring out of him, like a rusty faucet disgorging a hundred years of mind-filth: I’m doing this, that, this, that – it’s so good, it’s so good, it’s so good our relationship was great, was great, was great, you were so good, so generous, so good I’m sorry, sorry, sorry, so sorry I went to your work looking for you isn’t the Okanagan great? it’s so great, so great, so great things aren’t going as well as I thought for me the weather is great so great it’s great it’s all great may I darken your door again? when I think about it we had a great situation it was a great situation great situation, so comfortable so comfortable let’s meet for coffee.
See where that went???
My response: Harry. I’m sorry to hear that things are not going well for you right now. I’m not in the Okanagan. I am in the middle of moving to Winnipeg (fabrication) to start a research project at the university there (fabrication). I’ve bought a house there (fabrication). I wish you well.
I quickly ended the call after making the point that I was (really) unavailable. Then I immediately changed my phone number. I had blocked his previous number but he had changed it – the only thing to do was to change mine.
I think I was lucky. I had warnings. The people he contacted didn’t give him any information. I actually wasn’t in the Okanagan while he was looking for me there. And lastly, I don’t think he was overtly looking for vengeance.
In the end, he was probably only looking for a place to hang his hat and was just running through a list of possibles. I don’t know how far down the list I was and it doesn’t matter.
But this event says a couple of things. One is that like the cat who keeps coming back, you never know when or where your old narcissist is going to materialise. Which reminds me – be sure to keep careful track of your online presence. That’s how Harry had firstly attempted to find me again – through an online reference. When it comes to the internet, you can’t be too cautious.
And the other is that you should never leave home without your camera. Who knows; you might need to photograph the Aurora Borealis.
Last week M and I drove to Yellowknife for a conference. Six hours of driving through some pretty spectacular scenery – the best the Canadian Shield has to offer.
Yellowknife has a sort of rugged prettiness about it. Sitting as it does on the edge of the world’s 10thlargest lake, there is every kind of boat and float plane.
Great Slave Lake is large enough to actually have a vanishing point.
On the way back, we saw woodland bison. Lots of woodland bison. They look very similar to the plains bison that were almost extinguished by over-hunting and a serious attempt to starve the indigenous peoples who depended on them.
M became a little concerned when a rather large and truculent-looking bull stood in the road and stared at us – might he charge??? – so we kept a respectful distance.
The white marks that you see in the photo are bug residues. There are lots of those, too. The mosquitos have been known to carry away small dogs. Well, not really, but I’m sure they could!
Today I am very honoured to be a guest of Jill Weatherholt’s for her Summer Spotlight series. Jill is a kind, thoughtful blogger and writer (published!) whom I have followed since I became a blogger myself.
Join me at Jill’s place, meet some new bloggers and have a little browse around. 🙂
I was driving to another community in the Northwest Territories on Saturday when I saw this young bear. She (or he) was completely unfazed by my presence and idling engine. After a cursory look, she returned to eating some sort of tasty plant.
I wanted to get a better picture but I wasn’t going to get out of my truck to do that. Bears can run fast and have really big teeth. So, I was reduced to reaching across from the driver’s side to get these shots with my cell phone. This the sixth bear that I’ve seen since the beginning of May.
On the way back, it was drizzling. Since the air is now warmer than the ground or any body of water – thanks to our almost 24 hours of daylight – the formation of fog is very common. There was quite a layer of it above Little Buffalo River.
The fog produced some very moody scenes.
It has suddenly become very warm here with temperatures around 25C. This will increase to about 30C as the period of the midnight sun increases to its zenith. Then everything will start to cool once more and the bears will be looking for a place to sleep …