It’s been two years of preparation for this day. We touch down in Canada’s newest national park, it’s first visitors.
Walking a nameless ridge I search for signs of others before me. Do they travel here from Resolute to hunt? Did the Thule or the Dorset make lives for themselves here? I hunger for signs of other people, an old cache, maybe a tent ring.
I search for signs of humanity wherever I travel in the Arctic. Somehow, when I find remains from the lives of others, I find a place for myself. A sense that I am not alien from this land, but am of it.
Today, nothing. Am I the first to walk this ridge?
As I trudge upwards, human figures loom from the corner of my eye, only to become rock formations when I turn to look. Then shift and become human again as I change focus.
Perhaps I shouldn’t focus. Perhaps there is another way to see.
I seek connection to this landscape, press my fingers to it’s wrist for a pulse. With time, I find it. I find it inside me before I find it around me.
I do not know if another human has stood here before me, but I do know that I am of this earth. That my bones belong as much as the bones of the caribou, or the paleo-Inuit who came before me.
There are times in the wild when the joy is so intense, the contentment so pervasive, that I can see clearly. The separation between me and the connection I yearn for, that separation is myself.
It is not the wind around me, it is the wind inside me.
Author: Dave Weir Photo: Marlis Butcher