Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 28: Coming to 4 in threes

Tomorrow will be my 4 week mark.
There are only 6 weeks left of my stay in the subarctic.
I thought I would recap.

I have subjected my feet to:
hip waders, rubber boots, and dirty socks,
I made them:
walk in mud that sucked them down and threatened to never return them,
in a pond in which I sank into half mud and half water, stopping only when I hit permafrost,
and on top of peat polygons that crunched after days without rain.

I have stuffed my hands into:
heavy work gloves, sterile blue nitrile gloves, and pockets in search of pieces of paper with valuable sampling information scribbled down,
I made them:
snap a shutter and pull a trigger,
dip into water barely above freezing to get water samples,
and slap at the monstrous mass of mosquitos to keep them from my face and each other - the only exposed skin.

I have stuffed my head into:
a baseball cap to keep out of the sun, a toque to keep warm, and a hood to stay dry.
I made them:
covered in sweat from the evening bike rides, the moving of heavy, unmarked boxes, and the effort of 5 a and 5 b sun salutations,
covered in a layer of white dust after cleaning the labs, a layer of mud after running my sediment-caked hands through my hair, and a layer of smoke after the longest day of the year.
and safe from the mosquito mass, from the Bonaparte's onslaught, and the overwhelming desire to eat every desert at every meal - which I may have failed at occasionally.

I've met scientists, volunteers, and locals,
from Canada, Britain, and the US,
who are just as dirty, just as sleep-deprived and just as excited to be here.

I've woken up at 3 am to a rising sun,
and at 1 to a setting one,
and at 2 to something in between,

I've become giddy while collecting rain water,
frustrated while messing around with spreadsheets,
and terrified while searching for plastic bottles in a dump haunted by polar bears.

This has been my experience thus far in Churchill.
What will the next 6 weeks bring?

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