Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A walk around town

Sofia Jain

You step out the door, dropping your sunglasses onto your nose and pulling on a tuque. You jump over a puddle of cigarette butts, used diapers and pop cans. Looking up as you land safely on the other side, you are struck by a beautiful view over the tops of the roofs of the bay; a soft fog rising of the water turning the hill behind it a watercolor blue. You shrug your shoulders against the cold wind. Making your way down the hill you pass a raven chatting to himself in a complex dialect that sounds like electronic raindrops and dog barks. A car stops to let you cross the road and you become engulfed in dust as they continue on their way. A stream of kids skid by on their bicycles shouting war cries. A lady stands blowing puffs of cigarette smoke into the air. You follow a little stream filled with plastic bags. Its banks are lined with bright pink, yellow and white flowers. You’re ears fill with the sound of rushing water and house construction. You stop at the store to pick up a few things, trying not to let your mind linger on the prices...


Packing your oatmeal and apples away into your backpack, someone holds the door open for you. You’re body vibrates as a plane flies only tens of meters overhead. Arriving at the beech you pick your way over the dried kelp, a rotting seal fin, a broken hunting riffle. You can smell the brine of the bay as you pass some beached sea ice and some boats eager to get out on the blue bay. The tide is out, so the water's edge is almost a kilometer away. The tides here are second only to that of the Bay of Fundy. Carvers drill shapes into their soap stone in old sea cans or wood huts along the beach road. A lonely puppy waddles up to you pawing the air. You pat its soft fur. A boy watches you from where he hangs under a house. All houses are built on metal poles in Iqaluit to prevent the heat from the house in winter from melting the permafrost and causing the ground to shift. A group of women walk by giggling. A baby gurgles from his snug spot behind his mother in her Amauti. The sun breaks out and it’s suddenly warm enough to take off your jacket; some mosquitos drift by on cue. The bay lights up and the fog dissipates. The sled dogs howl at you from where they are tied up along a stream. A stray dog runs along, steeling some food from the others and causing havoc. You decide to take a short cut up through the tundra. You hop over the ditch and duck under a pipe bringing petrol up to the power plant. Clambering across the rocks died neon orange and electric green with lichen, you come across tiny flowers, a forgotten hat, a stroller, a worn out sleeping bag and a fallen tent. You stop to steady yourself and catch the last part of a snow bunting’s tune. You proceed without applauding. A butterfly flaps by as you crunch over a patch of snow. The sun is shrouded in clouds once again. Cold rain stings your face. You run up the last bit of tundra, down to road and jump back over your welcome mat. Unlocking the door you pray for a new pair of shoes to have appeared in the entrance announcing that you will have company for the next few days.


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