About a month ago, a package of warning signs was delivered to the maintenance office at school...just in time for break-up. Break-up is that nebulous segment of spring that defies hard and fast description. Things begin to melt. But then they freeze again. Sometimes things actually seem to re-freeze while they're still melting. Factor in a little wind and a dusting of fresh snow every couple of days and you get a time of year that could be characterized as consistently...inconsistent.
But the result can be glorious...
Or a little frightening...
Sometimes it's more like a blanket edging its way off the bed...
...or simply a delicate whisper of things to come.
Break-up reminds me of a baby bird, chipping its way out of its egg. Progress is slow because the shell is strong. But the strength of the shell is no match for the life that is determined to burst forth. It will burst forth.
But things are going to get really messy in the process.
Welcome to the Arctic! This space is dedicated to observations and experiences related to daily life in the Inupiat Eskimo village of Atqasuk. Questions and comments are invited. Thanks for visiting! Quyanaqpaq!
nuna:tundra, the land atikluk:snow shirt, parka cover
Interested in Inuit culture? Check out these films...
The Fast Runner is an excellent representation of ancient Inuit culture. The R-rating is for nudity, violence, and some language. Subtitles are utilized throughout. I do not recommend this film for children, but it's an extremely accurate portrayal of the culture. It was introduced to me by an Inupiat woman who raved about it. And I agree!
For a preview, click here.
The Snow Walker is another excellent representation of Inuit culture circa 1940's. This film is rated PG, I'm guessing for language. No subtitles that I remember. It starts a little slow, but gets much better. It will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the survival skills of this culture.
For a preview, click here.
Great For Kids!
Whale Snow by Debby Dahl Edwardson is a warm and culturally sensitive story centered on the Inupiat subsistence tradition of whaling. It is available in both English and Inupiaq translation. The illustrations, by Annie Patterson are exquisite and add to the quiet softness that the story inspires.
To order this title on Amazon.com, click here.
The Alaska Geographic series is an excellent informational resource. The edition entitled North Slope Now deals exclusively with this area and even features relatives of my students. Although it was published in 1989, it is still current enough to provide a general understanding of culture, lifestyle, and issues faced by this northern-most region.
To order this title from Alaska Geographic, click here.
More about Kaktovik Disaster of 2005 (from Dec post, "The Edge")