Thursday, December 21, 2006

Prime Real States of Being

The news these days is full of stories detailing the lack of snow, the wild and windy weather. The doomsayers blame it on 'global warming' which is looking more and more likely to be at least part of the cause. Certainly my friends in arctic Canada tell me the weather is no longer what it used to be when they were young.

This all leads me to think of a special place where I once spent a week. It's on Baffin Island. I was there with a few others to hunt caribou. Having spent the previous few months eating mostly seal meat, we were interested in having a taste of caribou for a change. The other reason for the trip was to collect caribou skins for making winter clothing for everyone. The trip was made in mid August in order to obtain the furs at the time between the summer shedding of the long winter's hair and the growth of new winter hair. Other things were collected as well including antlers to be used to make various items such as dog team harness toggles, and the long leg sinew used for sewing clothes and lashing kayaks together (at least in the days when people made kayaks in the area, something now nearly forgotten).

The upper picture was one of the campsites we made during the trip. It remains a favourite for obvious reasons. If global warming ever comes to the point that moving to Baffin Island becomes a serious consideration, this is where I'd thinking of living. It's on a convoluted inlet off the sea, is well supplied with game, fish and berries. The lower picture shows the backyard and the small stream which leads into the hills. The stream is actually fed by one of the few remaining ice caps on Baffin, something important as it will assure me of a water supply sufficient to last me out of this terrestrial journey and into the next.

When we arrived back in the community we piled the 30 odd caribou carcasses on the beach. Word of our arrival spread rapidly and soon a crowd gathered where I witnessed an extraordinary thing. Caribou meat disappeared into every home in the community as the hunter we'd accompanied literally fed a village. We got a rump roast for our efforts. I was shocked at first until it slowly dawned on me, that this was what the art of giving was all about. It went on all year long, and provided one with self-esteem and honour. Giving. Helping others. Being good friends. Makes one think, doesn't it?


clairesgarden said...

it looks a beautiful place.

Douglas Wilcox said...

And with all thy giving, enter the Garden of Eden.