Thursday, February 23, 2012

Far Greenland and Near Misses

Time makes you bolder and children get older. -Stevie

You can do everything right: vitamin C, exercise, spiritual health and meditation, handwashing, and still get the cold.

Lots of resources suggest we are somehow also master of our emotional state, and should manage strong internal tides that come over us. Refocus, meditate, breathe, take control. Sure. For me, I may as well try to will away this cold. I can keep fluidated, get plenty of rest and whole food and supplements, but the cold will move on more or less when it pleases. So it is with the emotional currents, I am thinking.

One remedy for such symptoms is to listen to folks like Captains Rick and Karen Miles of the Wanderbird, and drink in their couple hundred slides of ice, Inuits, polar bears, belugas, Greenland villages with vividly colorful houses, fish drying racks, more ice, broad daylight at 3 AM and other wonders. There were photos of Capt. Karen cutting fish, welding and having a very high lattitude dunk. I've done the New Years dip on Matinicus, (secret being run fast enough so you can't change your mind) and I'm betting it was warmer than high summer off the Greenland coast. There were pictures of Capt. Rick being joyfully piled on by kids and sled dogs. Both captains had an intimate familiarity with the nature and culture of that environment.

One thing that struck me about the villages was how the only other place I've ever seen houses and shops so organically placed around the shore, and having no lanes, roads, property boundaries or other structure, is of course, around Matinicus Harbor. I'm sure there are other places where ledge, tide and hungry people intersect, but the resemblance was striking in these shots.

The Miles also talked about how in high latitudes, they have hunter's markets as we have farmer's markets. The produce is fresh and utterly non industrial. There are still many in Greenland and Labrador who closely interact with their environment for sustenance.

Taking all this in was a nice break from my seemingly endless preoccupation with this winter of great excitement, a sweet new island community, and great challenges all mixed in. I don't remember any stretch of time where external circumstances and internal emotions were so intense for such a duration. If it ain't one thing, it's something else. The ride is wild and fast and full of turns that maybe were big mistakes, or maybe exactly what should have happened. Hard tellin'.

I've taken big swings, and taken a lot of big whiffahhs. Lots of big fun along the way as well. This winter, and gradually from earlier on, I've been feeling the piper breathing down my neck for his installment and have not got a lot to show for myself or give to my family. $23 royalty checks and some cool slideshows of my own don't quite cut it in Grownupwiththreekidsland.

Stevie's right, though. So for all those big things in life, love and work: Better the big swings and misses than the wussing way. 'Specially where life is finite. I keep swinging for the fence. Or maybe Greenland.

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