Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Drop of a Pin

Sometimes I wonder why I come to Churchill. It’s flat. I barely exercise. When I do exercise, we carry bear spray and jog laps around a 10 block radius in groups of 2 – 3… It’s an interesting existence in this small town, living amongst polar bears. Yet this year, my 3rd year returning to the north, I have been overcome with nostalgia.

The subtleties have crept under my skin.
I looked east at the horizon of Hudson Bay this week, waves lapping on the shore, a rainbow amongst the chalky blue sky, and thought to myself ‘Soon, oh so very soon, this will all be ice…’

Not that I should be surprised, but my first year, I had no idea what to expect. My second year, I knew it would happen, but it was still incredible. And my third year, I know with certainty that the bay will freeze this year (at some point), but it still leaves me in complete awe when I try to comprehend it.
Hudson Bay is unique in its shallow nature. It lies on the continental shelf and its relative lack of ocean depth combined with the cold winds coming from the neighboring Arctic cause it to freeze over 7-9 months of the year and melt completely in the summer. It’s shallow nature also allows for an abundance of marine life and ideal bearded and ringed seal habitat. Hence the polar bears. After all, their primary food source is seals, and the productive waters of Hudson Bay provide a prolific feasting platform… when there is ice.
It will be wild to once again watch this vibrant ecosystem slow… frost… freeze..: the arctic cycle of life.