15 December 2009

Välkommen till Arktis

Sometime on the train we crossed into the Arctic.  I woke up with the carriage to myself just north of Umeå and everything was covered in snow.  Feet of snow.  Thick.  Like icing smothering an undeserving cupcake.

Two colors told it all.  Black conifers balancing thin white snowdrifts out to their limbtips. A blackblue sky.  Ground white as eyes, textured like etched glass.

Kiruna won't see the sun again until after the first week of January.

I left New Zealand Saturday evening with the Pacific scent of summer on my breath.  Before the flight, I waited quietly in a park munching my last bit of smoky sausage, my backpack at my feet, beneath two rainbows that appeared briefly before the sky flushed a husky orange.

I flew in the belly of a 400,000 pound beast. Two wings, three wheels, and four Rolls Royce engines licking five gallons of fuel per mile. (That's how many polar bears, Carson?)  We lost the sun before we took off, found it near the coast of California, lost it once more over Canada, and finally caught up with it south of the Outer Hebrides. The giant cleavage between Scotland's highlands and its lower half peered up at us until the low clouds took it away. In Stockholm's afternoon darkness, I climbed aboard a train.  Seventeen hours later, I stepped onto an icy platform in Kiruna.  2 p.m. The sky a deepening blue.  Another eighteen horus before twilight.
My new field clothes. Tomorrow's forecast is -21 degrees C. One winter the temperature dipped to 40 below.

1 comments:

  1. laura - i am really looking forward to seeing what you see on this journey. steven

    ReplyDelete

Template developed by Confluent Forms LLC; more resources at BlogXpertise