Sunday, February 11, 2007
Dreams Dreamt, Promises Kept
I left Igloolik in 1969 on the Nauja, the government Peterhead boat which was used for various trips in the area. My work there was done and it was time to go back to university and finish working on my studies. The boat made the trip along the coast, south to Hall Beach where I could take a flight to what was then Frobisher Bay and on to Montreal. It was a sad time. My experiences living and hunting with the Inuit had changed me completely. I knew it then and I believe it still. But for the wonderful people who taken me in and cared for me, I would be very different today. I will forever owe them more than I could ever return.
As the boat chugged along, I made up my mind that I would someday return to Igloolik and I would do it by boat, under my own power. I had no idea how or when, but it was a promise to myself. When I paddled from Hall Beach to Igloolik in 1997, I made good on that promise and lived a dream. When I landed on Igloolik's beach, the people on the beach were the very ones I'd said goodbye to almost thirty years previously. My eyes were full of tears.
Last winter I was speaking with Nigel Foster about his trip through Ungava Bay and down the Labrador and discovered that his trip was also the fulfilment of a promise he'd made to himself years previously. How wonderful it was to learn that other people also make promises, dreams they keep alive in their hearts until a window opens and life blossoms magically for them. Like me, his trip was a moment of completion and pride, a perfect circle of accomplishment. One of those things in life you can look back on and truly say, "I did that! I lived my dream."