By: EarlB, 12:45 AM GMT on October 01, 2007
There are two seasons in Greenland: day and night. With night comes
the winter. with night comes the inside of everything. Life turns
inward, to the warmth, to the thoughts and feelings inside, to the
hearth and heart.
The arctic night is a return to the womb of a world mother, a
return to safety and the heartbeat of she from whom we all come,
from she who has reared us.
It is said that there is magic in the night, magic in the wonder and
magic in the depth of night. Night gives us the chance to look back
into time, the stars yielding up only their old light, the light of all
time. And then the arctic night shows more: the light of now, the light
between heaven and earth, the aurora.
The night lights are amazing, you feel as if you can reach and touch them,
or that you are a part of them, they are depthless, far yet near. Some
say they sing with a crackling voice, some say you can touch them, all
say that they are like nothing else ever seen or experienced.
The magic is that they seem to live, throbbing with their own heartbeat,
their own breath. The greenlanders say that the lights are alive, that
they are the spirits of ancestors. And who would say no. Through them
we find the connection between those of us here and those who have
I will be the aurora.
Updated: 12:46 AM GMT on October 01, 2007
By: EarlB, 5:19 PM GMT on September 15, 2007
Updated: 5:21 PM GMT on September 15, 2007
By: EarlB, 1:11 PM GMT on September 12, 2007
I'm treading on new territory being in Pituffik, Greenland (Thule Air Base)
in September. I've been here in the dark (January) and in the light (May-June),
in the spring half-light of April, and now in the autumn half-dark. The day
length is shortening by about 14 minutes a day right now, a change big enough
to notice each day when I wake. So the phrase we first heard on a September
morning in Sondrestrom, Greenland 16 years ago, "Winter is coming!" is, on a
daily basis, more and more relevant.
I arrived here almost a week ago, arriving to warm and sunny skies, the
temperatures, though comfortable by Thule standards, were still 40 F degrees
colder than our 6 am departure temperature (in Virginia) of 80 F. I, like
the people stationed and working here, reveled in the Indian Summer 40's!
Seemingly, with the shortening days, came the more wintry conditions. The
past three days have been noticeably colder, the past two days have had
the charm of wind chill added to the equation. Yesterday and today will be listed
in my book as 30/30 days: temperatures in the 30's, winds in the 30's, a typical
Eastern Shore of Virginia mid-winter's day!
Remember, my descriptions of "cold" are nothing for Greenland. A 40/40 day
here might describe a winter's day when the temperature is minus 40 with winds
in excess of 40 knots! Although my little 12' by 12' building, held down to the
earth by thousands of pounds of concrete and steel cables, shudders from time
to time, it's still just a summer breeze.
In Antarctica there is a saying, too; "The first time you come here, it's
for the adventure, the second time it's for the money, the third time, it's
because you've realized that you don't fit in anywhere else." In any harsh
environment, there is truth to the third point. You are where you are either
because you have to be there or because you don't want to be anywhere else.
My friends here in Thule tell me of the love-of-place that they have. They
have found the beauty here , they have found their place, and belong here
as much as anywhere else. The weather has become just something to talk
about. The "place" is in their hearts.
I have come to know that sixteen years ago, on my first visit to Greenland,
a seed of love was sown in me.
Updated: 10:59 AM GMT on September 13, 2007