One Man's Paradise

Appreciation

While others celebrate the end of summer, in the Arctic we experience the beginning of winter with below freezing temperatures and 24 hours of steady snowfall.

After a wet summer there were a few gorgeous fall days, a rich blueberry harvest, and a few memorable wildlife encounters. Without much warning winter did return and threw his white blanket on the landscape.

There is no question in my mind that this harsh and beautiful place deserves our appreciation and protection.



“You won’t save what you don’t love and you can’t love what you don’t know.”

Jacques Cousteau
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Dispatches from the Corona Experiment

Dispatches from the Cold – № 1

In the spirit of pandemic isolation I moved from a comfy city apartment to an off-grid cabin in the woods. Was it cold? Glad you ask. The thermometer I trusted most showed negative 42.5 Celsius, there were others that showed even lower numbers, but give or take a few degrees below -40 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, that’s cold!

The first indication of this frigid situation were shiny crystals covering all surfaces of the interior. They were inside the cabinets, on the walls, just about everywhere.

Then there were the door nobs. Turning a door knob with bare hands caused some instant burning sensation. Same thing with the house key. One of the cabins has an outside key lock. You punch in a number and then remove the key to open the door. My skin turned instantly white where I had touched the metal box, the key pad and the key. I did that only once with my bare hands.

When I took of my boots, a cloud of hot air rose from my feet, as if they were on fire. It was just warm humidity hitting the biting cold air.

The last memorable impression was the mattress. Frozen solid. Sleep number 1000. It was hard as rock. I slept the first night in with three layers of winter gear until the cabin had warmed up. There are still some corners low on the ground where I could see ice crystals. I use those corners as my indoor fridge.


“Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.”

Henry David Thoreau


Now, a day later its nice and cozy, grace to a propane furnace. Hope that thing will keep me warm for the rest of winter. That furnace, insulated walls and an arctic entry way, are the only thing separating me from the bitter cold.

I hope there will be more dispatches from the cold with more agreeable temperatures, though.

Stay warm.

Stay safe.

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Inside Out

Waiting for the Sun III

First light in the Arctic. It’s already noon when the sun brushes the mountain tops. The valleys remain in the shade where frost keeps accumulating on the occasional shrub. Not before long the sun will dip below horizon. Twilight for a few more hours. Then darkness, except for the sparkling stars. That’s the rhythm of winter.


“Besides, I’ve been feeling a little blue — just a pale, elusive azure. It isn’t serious enough for anything darker.”

L.M. Montgomery
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Life

Waiting for the Sun

Standing at the edge of the boreal forest. A group of spruce and poplars lined up covered thickly with frost and snow. Waiting for the sun to return.


This is the strangest life

I have ever known.

The Doors

That’s how I feel these days. After a year of hiding behind a mask, being trapped inside it is time for life to return. Life as we know it, only better. There are silver linings on the horizon, light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s not quite there, yet.

Til next time.

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One Man's Paradise

As Winter progresses…

The sun is barely creeping up above the horizon in this neck of the woods. Temperatures have been well below freezing for a couple weeks by now. Lakes and rivers are frozen over.


“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”

Frank Zappa


I missed the magic air bubbles trapped in ice this season, but I came across some interesting snow and ice formations.

Stay warm and play it safe.

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One Man's Paradise

Sainte Terre

“Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre’, ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently.”

John Muir


There are many things about winter that I like. The transformation of the mountains into pristine walls and ridges of snow and ice is probably my favorite aspect of the cold and dark season. When the storm clouds lift and some of that fresh, untouched powder is exposed, that’s when mountains turn into altars, as others have said.

Amen.

 

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Mixed bag

Into the White

We have been watching winter movies playing in remote places lately. Yesterday it was “Into the White”, a Norwegian movie by director Petter Næss.

A group of British and German soldiers find themselves stranded in a remote shelter in the midst of winter during WW II after crashing their planes in the Norwegian wilderness. Not a war movie, but a great portrait of humanity based on true events.


Some critics said the movie has soul, I concur.
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Life

Shine Your Light…

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Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

“Shine your light
and make a positive impact on the world;
there is nothing so honorable as
helping improve the lives of others.”

Roy T. Bennett


I wish at the end of my days somebody tells me, I had a positive impact on the world. There are many ways to help out others in need. What will you do to make the world a better place?

Black Friday 2018, not a dime spent…

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Note to self

Miracles

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein


Today, more Noble Prize winners have been announced. Reminded me of Einstein, who was not only good for scientific theories that changed “our” views on matter and time. He also led a wild private life and is a great source for inspirational quotes.

I liken to think of life as a miracle. Sometimes there are rocks in the way. It takes effort to turn those rocks into insignificant pebbles.

I am reentering society, sort of, after being on the road for more than 4 months and living north of the arctic circle, where every day is a miracle. The solitude and remoteness, the weather, the landscape, and the small number of individuals that I encountered in that environment left me no choice, but marvel in the quality of every day. I could stayed up there and maybe I will return some day.

 

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