Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nuna: An Introduction Overdue


A few weeks ago, my restless dog and I struck out for a leisurely walk around the lake. We were both grateful to get out; it had been much too long. Every step slurped and sometimes my foot walked right out of my boot. Thankfully, it wasn't too difficult to slide back in before stepping into the icy soup mostly concealed by fading grasses.


The sky was a seamless dome of gray capping a chilly breeze scented by water, grass, moss, mud, and that indefinable sweetness that always lingers on the tundra. Labrador tea? Likely, though I didn't see any along the way. Maybe I'll call the mystery scent Nuna's perfume. I like that and it suits her.

Nuna is the land. I don't know why I haven't mentioned her before. I was reminded of that on this particular day because, as I stepped, (between the slurpings) I heard something familiar that I had forgotten. It was the sound of moss tearing beneath my feet.



Very much like fabric tearing, the sound often makes me feel as though I'm ripping Nuna's garment. I wish I could tread more lightly, but I don't think she minds so much. She gets new clothes every summer. She wears a brightly colored atikluk embellished with thousands of the tiniest and most resilient blossoms imaginable.

Not sure what kind

Nuna, in summer, is soft and warm. She whispers invitation.

Atqasukpiaq 2006

She generously shares her abundance with...everyone.

Atqasuk 064

Her laughter is the twittering of nesting birds...



...and bubbling streams.


But as summer gives way to autumn, Nuna's laughter begins to fall away. Puddles and ponds develop a frosty skin.


She feels it and prepares, as we all do, for the flurries of September. That time when chubby flakes swirl and cling like powdered sugar in the corners of Nuna's smile.



Then new sounds begin to flourish...giggles and squeals and shouts. Everywhere, children rapturously bounce on their Nuna's knees. Sliding down her slippery skirts, they yell, "Again! Let's do it again!"


Nuna smiles a weary smile and lets them play while they still can. She knows the sun is coming slower and hanging lower every day.


I'm sorry I was remiss, failing to introduce her by name, but this is Nuna.

She is the land.

And now you know.


Kimberlee said...

My sincere apologies to those of you with dial-up internet connections. In my zeal to get "caught up," I fear that I have created one monstrously large post! That wasn't my intention...I guess I just got carried away. Thanks to all who manage to muddle through! :)

Mongoose said...

I have high-speed and it was beautiful. You're such a writer. :)

I've never heard the sound of "moss tearing beneath my feet." I need to travel to the high arctic some time...

Thanks for sharing.

Steve said...

Wow, that was so nice, Kimberlee! Nuna and you compliment each other well.

Jackie said...

Thank you so much for putting me on your blogsend list. That way I know right away when you've posted. And what a wonderful post! Beautiful pictures, but I think even if you had no pictures your words did such a wonderful job painting the details of Nuna, I could have easily imagined some of the scenes. I sure enjoy your writing.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful,Nuna would be pleased with how you described her.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

The photos are words really capture the essence of that place and time. You have a really nice blog. It's my connection to the Alaskan half of the "upper 2".

Kimberlee said...

I'm so glad you were able to view the photos and thank you for your kind comments. Yes, the Canadian Arctic is probably very similar...more mountainous, maybe. When I visited Nova Scotia this summer I ran across LOTS of plants and animals on Cape Breton that were either similar to or exactly the same species as I've seen in Alaska.

That was a very sweet thought. Thank you and I hope it's always true. :)

I'm glad you suggested the blogsend feature. I hadn't realized that it was possible. Thank you for all your encouragement. I love being able to stay in touch this way.

Thank you very much! I've never heard anyone refer to the nuna as a "she," but it seems right to me. I'm so happy that you seem to be able to relate to that as well.

Thank you! I'm glad you are staying connected! I tried to visit your site, but was blocked. Is there a secret to getting access?

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. Having moved from BRW in June, your pics and descriptions make me sigh, smile and remember. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to share.

Anonymous said...

Hey Luna is part of Mother Earth. Awesome delivery of the language of the earth. Tammy

Kimberlee said...

I'm so happy to hear that you're staying connected with the area through my blog. It means a lot to know that you can relate to what I'm sharing because you've been here and would know if I wasn't being honest or fair in my representation. This place can definitely carve out a place in one's heart. Thanks!

Good to hear from you! I hadn't thought of the female/Mother Earth thing, but you're right! Thanks for staying in touch. :)

Rm said...

You've done it again! Another wonderful post. Great pics with wonderful words woven in between. Thank you for sharing.

Kimberlee said...

Thank you, Rm, for all of your encouragement. I'm glad you're getting to see some of these things for yourself. :)