Tuesday, July 24, 2007
38° and Foggy for 48
For two days the temperature and the sky dropped in Pangnirtung. At first the fog sat on the ground, thick and full of drizzle. Then it lifted a hundred feet and made a line along the mountainsides like the edge of a square-dancer's skirt. Later, the wind picked up and the fog began to swallow hillsides whole. During the swallowing phase, I went out to paint and settled on a rocky outcropping, near a small stream half way up the hills, high enough to stay within the fog. A rock, elaborately dressed in gray lichens, brown fungus and a large ruff of flowers and moss, was the subject for the day. Nearby the recent moisture helped to bring along new blooms including drifts of fantastic pink and cream spires. Transported by the moment, I suddenly realized that the fog which obscured the hillsides to such romantic effect, could also hide a polar bear. I shouldn’t be too worried about polar bears, since they tend to stay near the coast, but Canadian Wildlife TV and a book I am reading about surviving Greenland in 1900 have brought them to life in my mind. Suddenly the Fog was less pretty, and I planned emergency responses to polar bear attack. First, I would offer my sandwich to the bear, and hope that the zip lock bag would cause confusion and delay the attack so that I could roll into a ball as recommended, or run. During an attack I thought it unlikely that I would roll into a ball, even though it is recommended, so I decided to grab the pot of paint thinner to use as a weapon as I dashed away, tossing it toward the face of the bear during the chase over the tundra. Reassured by the effectiveness of the pot of paint thinner as a weapon, I went back to work. Sure enough, I was attacked later that day, but by mosquitoes, who are attracted to the colors of paint and die in quantity on the palette and the pictures. Since they struggle and muck up the paintings, I remove them with tweezers. Worries of bear attacks aside, I’m still the predator at the top of the food chain.
Late that night, the fog was sent off by clear weather and lots of wind.
Posted by Mike Glier at 7:33 AM