Boreal Morning
12″ x 16″
Mixed Media on Canvas
2010

Life in the North is a different kind of thing. Where I am, we are just on the verge of the Great White Expanse. In my journeys up to the Northwest Territories and throughout Northern Alberta there is one thing I’ve come to understand and appreciate.

They make them different up here. Like a Raven we’ll caw and complain but in the end, we get to work. We live through the mountains of snow and ice, we help dig out our neighbours, we still do our jobs and take care of our families.

Sometimes we’ll get that far away look, that thousand yard stare, and everyone who lives here knows what it’s like to get that need to go, to leave to walk away into the wilderness and never come back. I think it’s the balance we have to strike between our animal nature and the demands of a modern life.

Yes, it’s cold, people die of exposure, tips of ears or fingers can freeze away if you get caught in it, but it’s also our blessing. We don’t flood, we don’t shake, we just freeze. And the spring always comes. Is it possible that one day, after we’ve wrecked it enough that it will all change? Of course. Maybe one year it will freeze and it will stay frozen. It’s happened before to this earth of ours, and it can happen again.

So we do what we must. We recycle, we eat less, we waste less. or at least we try. Will it be enough?

This vast wilderness is our home, and looking out at the mountains of snow I feel a soft calm. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but I know without a doubt that everything will be fine. We may have our long dark night, but out of the dawn we’ll see the distance, the puff of breath in the cold air, and at last the sunrise.

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