Monthly Archives: December 2014

saqqiumijuq ᓴᖅᑭᐅᒥᔪᖅ (saq-qiu-mi-juq)

coral harbourSaqqiumijuq   ᓴᖅᑭᐅᒥᔪᖅ    (Saq-qiu-mi-juq)

ᑕᒃᓯᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᓄᓇ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᓕᖅᐸᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᐅᒥᕗᖅ.
Taksiqtillugu nuna takuksauliqpat saqqiumivuq.       
When the fog lifts and one is able to see farther out to the land

With great luck I am once again in Nunavut. Delicious adventure abounds. I am currently perched in a small town named Coral Harbour on South-hampton Island. The year is coming to a close. On Friday I will go home and experience my personal solstice: once I turn South the days will never be this long again. Sun rising after 9, twilight misting across the dim hours of day, then setting in to darkness just after lunch. The air is predictably cold. If I don’t first tumble across banked ice as I walk to work, the space between boot and ground produces a satisfying high-pitched squeak of frozen snow that carries my mood forward for hours. I have been North for three weeks- delivering babies, meeting mamas, taking blood pressures. The normal tasks of my north and south life. No different than home, I spend hours trying to convince folks to drink a little water, smoke fewer smokes, take some vitamins even though they are made so large one can’t help but barf. Like down South, much of this process is futile but us helpers like to help so we offer our magic formulas for quitting, leaving, financing, educating, and living anyway. Different is running to the health centre at two am and hoping no one delivers before I have time to warm up the car as twenty minute of idling before driving is a golden rule I don’t dare cross. I screw up all the time at language, not spilling coffee everywhere, and messing up the blasted electronic medical system meditech, but i really don’t want to break the car. Different are the families waiting in hordes at the birth centre with toddlers tucked in warm parka hoods (amautis) and cousins hoarding the coffee mate in the snack room. The collective joy when a baby boy arrives and pounds of new clothes seem to materialize from the northern store in an instant of relatives and love. The harshness of a world where not every child is wanted, not every woman wants to be a mother; and the challenges of riding their wave without dragging my entire heart along. The quiet fear when things slip sideways and help is an airplane and two icy runways away. Different are the sassy outpost nurses, the shared housing, the snow machines trying to kill me on the non existent sidewalks, and the dinner invitations that materialize out of thin air because we are all in this together in this frozen town. The sense we need each other so we might as well laugh as the stores drain out from bad weather (with no cargo plane in sight), the past makes you sad, and the future could be hazy. Might as well laugh, strike up the bingo, and call a friend to come over. Saqqiumijuq: watching the fog lift, letting it go, sliding forward into clear skies.

Happy solstice friends; I am not writing much these days but I am sure glad you are here.

PS: More photos at: