Earlier that morning, a local hunter had caught four wolves. As we were chatting around the breakfast table he stopped. Quickly got up and rushed out the door. He said in passing “We were just talking about them and they knew. I think there is one out there and its big.” By the time I looked out the window there were five skidoo’s speeding down the road and out of the community.
Most days I like to step outside of my comfort zone. Some days it involves pushing myself to new personal limits. Other days it can be as simple as trying something new. While my challenges are probably more extreme than the majority of people. I am certainly not alone in my pursuits.
As I turned the corner they were there, staring straight at me. My heart dropped. I became a statue, a rapidly freezing statue. Chills began in my toes and slowly crept upwards. Luckily my head could still turn enough, to see that I was being watched. I began to count. One, two, three, four…
Every year the world grows, my perspective expands. Everything that I learn helps me to develop a new aspect of knowledge that I did not understand before. I remember when I agreed to travel up North. I decided this was an adventure that I wanted to fulfill. A project that I aspired to work on. I was a few years younger a bit less experienced and a lot more naïve.
Every day I encounter new scenarios that challenge my thoughts, my opinions and my emotions. Some days are harder than others. The Arctic is most certainly a place where I have faced some of the hardest days of my life. Once I leave, it will remain a project, a part of my life. However, for the people that live here. The friends I have made, the families that I cherish, this is their reality. They live each day not knowing whether tomorrow will come. That is a fact.
It was what I perceived as just another day. I ran through my check list. Saw the people I needed to see and did what I needed to do. I was finally heading out for a run under the afternoon sun. I had heard that there were some wolves nearby. I thought it would be best just to go on my ‘usual’ route. It is a route that literally oversees the community. Other than the aggressive climbs, the slippery shale rocks and the brisk winds it is nice route. At the beginning of my run I noticed a dark sky up ahead. I didn’t think much about it other than what would appear to be a sign of danger.
Inuit have a strong relationship with the environment. Traditional knowledge is simply one term that is used to try to describe the immensity of their knowledge. It is passed down through generations. It is taught through stories and experiences. One acquires this knowledge as time passes. However, it is more than that. As I said I can not describe it, since I will never fully understand it.
As I stood there in shock I remembered the words of an Inuit hunter. “I don’t like hunting wolves because they sense fear. I am afraid of them and they know.” I tried to stay confident. I took out my knife but suddenly it seemed very insignificant. I began to back away. I counted six, seven of them. I backed out of their line of sight and began to take bigger and bigger steps until I was able to turn and run. I knew if I could get to where some of the hunters could see me I would be safe. I would look back every five steps. Nothing came chasing after me.
Relieved, I arrived into town. The kids playing outside of their houses waved and yelled “Hi Gen”. It was like nothing had changed. My experience with the wolves in the hills are simply to be stored in my memory as a story I once told. It was a day that I tried something new. We will just have to see what happens tomorrow.
By Geneviève Lalonde
A collection of stories and tales. Reminiscing the past and exploring the future.