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Good Bye to the North

by Michael Brine


"Wind over my wander
The ground rolls
Beneath my feet.

The Earth song is warped
A whisper through
A broken timepiece.

I remember the
Melody of
A breath ago.

Knowing I must
Make you
know me

Before I slip through
The keyhole again
With the wind
Over my wander." [Author unknown.]

In June I published one of my periodic articles that included a writing from a young 20 year old on the subject of Community. Nikki, who is working up here for the summer from York University in Toronto, is about to leave - indeed by the time this is published she will have left. She fell in love with the Yukon while she was here for her two months and before she left she gave me another of her writings about how she felt about Yukon and its affect on her.

Those of us who call Yukon home like myself sometimes forget how privileged we are to have the good fortune to live here. I know I do sometimes - especially in these unsettling times as we look out across the world. I think we need to be reminded of this great 'privilege' occasionally, so here is a reminder with Nikki's name penned to it:-

"Goodbye to the North - My internal soliloquy, poetry in the form of prose:-

If the world knew what it’s like to see a mountain for the first time, we might just be silent for a little while. And maybe in this silence we might reflect on the feeling of what it’s like to feel so deeply small and fragile, exhaling and then sucking back in every single molecule of life with such delicate refrain. Then it might be humble here. We are not giants and our bones are not steel – we are dewdrops on dewdrops with entire universes in our reflections, dancing and rolling on blades of grass until the earth collects us.

These are the thoughts that flicker and dance around in my head - like the northern lights, these things that so much resemble my brain activity, which I have not seen yet and which I doubt I’ll see before I leave. Reminiscing, I wish I had written more down. I wish I had written more about the haunting solitude and wondrous feeling of being so far away from any other large clusters of civilization, about how I felt like I was at the edge of the universe.

I wish I had written more about the sea and how the smell of the air right next to it carved into my mind memories that I will always keep with me - like the first jump of a whale that I saw with my own eyes and the uncontrollable laughter and glee that came after. I must have walked barefoot on every shore I’ve seen and tasted the water to really believe where I was walking. I don’t think the people who live by the sea know how good it smells.

I wish I had written more about the fleeting friendships with such amazing and beautiful people, the cold coming through my window, the smell of the rain and hues of the sky, just a little more of it to keep with me when I go. But maybe in seeing instead of writing I truly was able to see so that now I am able to write with clarity.

Ah, the land of gold.

They say there is no more gold here but I see it everywhere I look. I see it in the tiny, water-starved trees that are older than they seem, the rolling hills and unpredictable weather that the landscape brings. I see it in the cold summer mornings and the queer sound of the ravens call, and in the beautiful and transcendental culture of first nations people that live here. In tiny deserts. In the haze of the setting summer sun and the rise of it merely hours later.

At first the midnight sun was brilliantly irritating and still I will do anything to get away from it. But I confess I will miss it deeply and I feel
sorrow for the people who say goodbye to it hours earlier. I feel sorrow for myself because I too have to say goodbye.

It was not easy to live in white vs. red world, the politics, the oppression – I just wanted to smile and be thankful for my neighbours. For any sort of company. The war is far from over but the best we can do is shake hands with each other and smile and dream of a new world order. One where no one is silenced, where no one is oppressed and I am as you are as he is as she is. The Canadian flag is both red and white for a reason.

The sourtoe * offered me something sweet, Tombstone was not a graveyard and the tundra was not desolate. The Dempster highway was my Everest and the glaciers were my gods. This is my new home- one of the many homes I have and one of the many more I will have. Staying placid does not make the earth shake. This is my goodbye. I will not cry anymore. In this wrinkle in time, in this journey, I am free. I have welded all my seams. Silenced every scream.

I have found the place of dreams." Nikki Satira - < write@yorku.ca>

* For those who aren't familiar with the term "Sourtoe", the Sourtoe Cocktail is a well known drink from the Gold Rush era back in 1898. The story is true: A gold miner at the time froze his big toe and it had to be amputated. He kept it. When he was in the bars drinking, he would see a new arrival come in and then buy him a whisky to welcome him. Then he'd slip in his big toe and give it to the new guy and tell him to drink the whisky in one go to be initiated into the fold! Well, you can guess what would happen! Usually the toe would;d not get swallowed but sometimes it would, so where he got his next toe from I have no idea ----- but it is a bit of a tradition in Dawson City even to this day for new comers to go through the initiation. I am certain it is not with a real toe, at least so they say. :)  There are rumours, however, about goings on at the local morgue. I'll leave it to your imagination!

Thank you Nikki for reminding us! May you live long and prosper! :)

Be well - Michael

Contact at wild.brine621@gmail.com

If interested other articles by this writer can be accessed at the following Australian web site:- www.missionignition.net/btb

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