Tag Archives: commentary

North of 60

To a Canadian,

you need to be north of 60° N latitude to be “in the north.” Canadians understand when you say, “I’m going north of 60.”

To a far north northerner, though, that’s south. You can wear shorts until it’s -20. Not an exaggeration. I’ve actually seen this.

But, to anyone in the southern US, for instance, that’s where Pere Noel lives. Going outside is for polar bears and reindeer.

I am “north of 60,” but I’m too far south for polar bears and reindeer. They aren’t a part of my landscape. And to a far north northerner, I’m a weak little southerner.

It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

Blogging Insights

Melanie from Sparks from a Combustible Mind passed on the idea for this post. Please check out her post and the blogger who originated these questions:                                                                                            https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/27669916/posts/55683

How important are images to a blog post?

What is the role of images in blog traffic and reader engagement?

How many images on average do you use in a blog post?

I think that images can be important to a blog post, but that really depends on the blogger and the subject of the post. From a pragmatic standpoint, having the occasional image can be easier on the eye than being confronted by large chunks of text, but I also don’t need the images either. I choose images and imagery because I connect well with them. Since I also do lots of photographic posts, I often like to make the image the focus, but I do use words to enhance the images. Sometimes, the images enhance the words; it depends on the links that I’m making.

Great Slave Lake in Autumn

Most people have become inundated by images and media of all kinds. For some people, especially people who have been raised to expect lots of visuals, not having them could be jarring. For others, having a break from all the imagery could be a relief. I think that in the end, it’s really the content of the post that drives whether or not the blogger wants to use visuals.

Skaha Lake in Summer

On average, I only use one or two images per post, but I have been known to use several. If I’m doing a post that’s not specifically photographic, I will use some of my pictures to back up a point I’m making.

Cameron Lake in Spring

I like these lake photos. Lakes can be calming, menacing, a giver of life, a taker of life. They can be all of these things, all at once. Images communicate. Sometimes just one thing, sometimes many things. Sometimes images communicate complex feelings or ideas that we don’t immediately understand.

To me, choosing images or visuals to add texture or depth to a post or having the images stand as posts on their own is dependent on thinking style, content, mood, and about 12 billion other things that go into making a person a person, because blog posts are what the bloggers are. 🙂

It’s Getting Cold? … Isn’t It?

Well, maybe. It seems that everyone to the south of us is experiencing some interesting cold weather with large dumps of snow.

We have had some snow, but by Halloween it had mostly disappeared and temperatures were above 0°C. We are getting some snow today, but it’s still fairly warm out. Very strange for this area, but the elders do say that generally, the northern weather is a lot warmer than it used to be. For this year, they also predict a severe winter based on their observations of the behaviour of the animals. I posted about that earlier this autumn. So far, though, that doesn’t seem to be case.

A frozen lake photo from last year.

Yath is the Chipewyan word for snow. Chipewyan is one of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories – French, English and nine indigenous languages. There are lots of yath-related words and compound words. The quality and quantity of the yath is very important to the animals and their survival, and hence to the health of the land. Because of that, lots of yath vocabulary came into being.

I never thought that I would think so much about yath. But I do now.

New yath. (Yup, that’s a small joke. Really small, I know … )

As I already stated, yath is extremely important up here. An entire ecosystem has evolved with it, and many species depend on it for their survival, both animals and plants. It is a seminal part of the culture of the indigenous peoples. But it’s not as healthy as it has been.

The amount of yath that falls is erratic and unpredictable; it starts late, it starts early; it’s too cold at the wrong time, it’s too warm at the wrong time. And that seems to be the case farther south, too.

This exhausts the animals and plants, can damage their health or even kill them outright. A bear that wakes up too early will have nothing to eat, may try to beg from humans, and … a fed bear is a dead bear. A fast thaw can cause flooding followed by drought.

We all need healthy yath. Cold when it’s supposed to be cold, melting when it’s supposed to be melting. Crispy and squeaky in -40°C, soft and sticky in -1°C.

It looks so hardy and tough, but it is actually a sort of delicate white carpet that stains easily, so the next time you’re treated to some yath, I encourage you to try to appreciate its intricacy and necessity, even if you hate what comes with it and the chores it brings.

Greetings from yath central. 🙂

Jasper National Park

Alberta’s Jasper National Park is the largest park in the Rocky Mountains and was established in 1907.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Dark Sky Preserve and was also the backdrop for a Marilyn Monroe movie, “River of No Return.” It has one of my favourite hotels as well – Jasper Park Lodge.

If you like to hike, walk, kayak, canoe or just watch the animals, Jasper is wonderful. Loads of trails, lakes and rivers, and, of course, there are hot springs in which to relax those tired muscles after a good day of exercise amidst gorgeous scenery.

Greetings from beautiful Jasper Park. 🙂

The Strong Person

This post is brought to you by Melanie’s Share Your World and Ursula’s response to it. Please take a look at their blogs. They are thoughtful, interesting and stimulating bloggers who think outside the box. 🙂

Melanie’s question is: Am I a strong person character-wise?

What does “strong” mean? To me, it means being assertive, standing up for those you love when they can’t do that for themselves, being able to think independently, having integrity.

Having defined what “strong” is though, I have to say that sometimes I have been a strong person, and at other times, I have been a weak person.

Sometimes, I’m just a sort of muddy person.

Perhaps people need to be weak in order to understand how to be strong. If you’re uncomfortable because of the choices you’re making, then maybe you need to examine them. Recognising weaknesses means that you know what strong is (or isn’t)?

Is there a little interior voice telling you to pick something else, do something else, be something else?

I’ve learned to listen to my interior voice. It hasn’t let me down yet. I have let it down lots of times though because I haven’t listened to it. Without question, I usually know the right path, but sometimes I don’t take it, and this was more evident when I was younger.

Is that an excuse? I was younger and didn’t know better, blah, blah, blah.

Well, it is and it isn’t. I had impulse control issues when I was younger and even now to some extent, but I often knew that I was making a poor choice … I just thought that I could make the outcome be different. The hubris of youth? Well, not when you’re getting up there in age …

Here in northern Canada where I work, indigenous people believe in the “capable” person, not the strong person. They find the idea of a strong person to be a western concept that leaves other qualities (and therefore many people) out. Qualities that are important and needed, but not necessarily very heroic or romantic.

Are you capable of living in the north?

It’s spherical thinking, not continuum thinking, and I believe it gets at the idea that sometimes we are strong, and sometimes we’re not. It’s the notion that we’re able to do certain things, to make contributions, but we’re not able to do all things, or heroic things.

I love the idea of “capable.” That there are many things I can do and can contribute, but that I can’t contribute everything nor should I be expected to.

I haven’t really answered Melanie’s question in any definitive sort of way, but I’ve thought about it and I’m thinking about it still.

What do you think? Are you a strong person? A capable person?

Okanagan Sunset

I have left the north and am presently at my home in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Recently, I sipped a glass of wine and watched the sun go down behind a hill.I am happy and grateful for all the wonders in my life. The people (including the bloggers), the work, the food, the time to sit and enjoy a sunset.

Cheers from British Columbia. 🙂