We headed south, at the same time as the geese headed north. Another year, another goose break for the Cree. For the Inuit, this is not a significant occurrence, but when the whales first appear in the river, it is cause for celebration.
Upon arrival in Montreal, our senses almost exploded from the scents, colours and noise, but we adjusted quickly. Are people speaking louder? Has traffic always been so noisy? There were lists of things to do, things to buy and people to see. We didn’t accomplish as much as we wanted. Time does speed up in the south …
We had Easter turkey dinner on Sunday and enjoyed being in the company of others.
We had invited a couple over for dinner a few days ago. Before they left, I told them I had a problem. I opened my fridge and showed them a huge frozen turkey.
“Can you come and help us eat it?” I asked.
“Oh,” Marilyn exclaimed. “I have an even bigger turkey at my house!”
We decided the best course was for us to refreeze our turkey and help them eat theirs.
It was nice to be with new friends.
Sunning in the Dunes
We walked to the massive sand dunes today. They hug the shoreline, an ancient, geomorphological feature reminiscent of the last glacial age? It’s an endless stretch along the shore of the bay, huge waves of sand, with warm, protected pockets of scrubby trees, sheltered from the wind.
We had apples and hot tea. It was warm enough to remove our jackets, but not yet our hats.
We awoke to another crystal clear day and decided to walk towards the dunes near the dump and perhaps glimpse some wildlife (or hopefully NOT glimpse wildlife as in bears …)
A pickup truck approached and the driver stopped and rolled down his window. He asked Andy how it was going at school and had a few questions about the program he is teaching. We spoke for a while and the driver continued his way into town.
“Who was that,” I asked Andy.
“I have no idea,” he shrugged and laughed.
Seems like lots of people know the newcomers, but we don’t know them … yet.
I have been moonlighting at the local prison. A teacher at school mentioned that she occasionally works shifts at both police precincts. This sounded interesting, so I told her that if she needed someone to work a shift, to let me know.
I received a call from a constable, who asked if I could come in the next morning to work a shift, and to bring with me two pieces of ID (security check).
I wasn’t quite sure where they were located, since I am not known to frequent these institutions, so they sent a car to pick me up.
For now all I can say is that I was safe. It was made clear that under no circumstances whatsoever, even a suicide attempt or heart attack or seizure; I was not to unlock any doors. I had the necessary backup for that. I could pass meals, coffee, magazines, and blankets through the slot to the detainee.
I sat in front of a computer screen, which showed each cell, and made reports every 15 minutes or so. There was a TV I could watch and some magazines and paperbacks.
I think it is considered preferable to hire non locals for this type of job, since most people know each other and are related.
It certainly was a very interesting experience … lots to think about.
I have this week off as it is March break, which coincides with Easter, on the Inuit side. I spent the first couple of days catching up on paper work, writing, reading, and rereading my few paperbacks. Will I soon be desperate enough to handle Andy’s western Louis L’Amour books?
Note to myself: Make sure to download lots of books on my playbook when south.
By Tuesday, I was caught up and had some letters to mail, so I grabbed my backpack to pick up a few groceries on the way.
At the Northern Store, I bought two liters of 1% milk, 500 ml. of sour cream and a small container of Compliments brand margarine. The total came to $9.97. I think that certain products, such as milk, are subsidized.
All that powdered milk we shipped up was not really that necessary after all.
Boulders and the Bay
We took an afternoon walk along Hudson Bay on Sunday. It was sunny and warm, about -17, not factoring in the windchill. I put on my medium-cold jacket (here you need three jackets, one for weather just below freezing, one for about -20 to -30 and one for when it is colder than that).
Surprizingly, outside town there is an intricate mesh of roads and trails, which lead to camps. Some appear to be skidoo or ATV routes, and others are wide enough for a truck. We followed along the frozen bay and headed up a series of rounded hills, swept bare by the fierce winds. The rocky surface is covered with rust, brown, black and green algae and lichens. The landscape is sparse, with thin, scrubby trees, sticking up like bristles. There is forest inland, but not as far as we could see. We found a large boulder atop one of the hills, a residue from the last glacial period – a glacial erratic, I recall from my geography studies. It was perched on a hill, seemingly ready to roll. Too curious, I clambered up to have a better view. I saw the expanse of the bay and the Manitounuk Islands. These islands consist of a chain, which runs parallel to the coast, providing a safe haven for birds, seals, and whales.
The sun was so warm and the air so pure. Next time I will bring a thermos of tea and savour the views.
It has been said that upon arrival you either love it here, or hate it. Today I loved it.