Monday, August 27, 2012

Arctic Farewell

August 3, 2012. Baffin Bay is stormier lately and I can tell that fall is coming at this latitude.  The air is cooler, there are fewer bright sunny days, and the sun dips a little lower on the horizon each evening. Nights will be returning to this part of the Arctic soon, darkness finally engulfing the world after months of constant daylight.  

It feels like a time of hunkering down or moving on.  For me, it’s time for the latter. 

I’ve been in Greenland for only a matter of weeks, in a timeless place with no end or beginning.  I’ve stood on the brink of something eternal here, and I’m sure I will spend the next several months trying to unravel the mystery of it.  How, what, why.   Seeking order out of chaos, answers instead of questions.  
In the final days of my residency at the Upernavik Museum, I’ve been so encumbered by the maelstrom of my own mind- from the trivia of the mundane to the vast overhwhelm of the monumental-  that I don’t know what I feel about leaving.  Happy? Sad? Relieved? 
All the above- and exhausted. 

I do know that I will miss this little red house terribly.  I have loved the quiet here and the time to contemplate new ideas (and old ones ad nauseum).  I gave up my own rental in Colorado last fall when I left on my long year of artistic sojourning.   It makes leaving this place of refuge so much harder.

Still, I’m eager to find my way back to the Rockies and the remains of summer there, to say hello to old friends and reacquaint myself with my mountain bike and the solace that deep forest and high ridge trail riding brings me. 

I’m incredibly excited about all the artistic possibilities I have to explore as a result of my time in the Arctic.  With time and space in the US over the fall and long winter ahead, I will preside over a studio burgeoning with the chaos of multiple creative projects being born at once. 

What struck me most about Greenland is its mystery and ineffability- a landscape of rock and ice I can scarcely put words to.  And all the beauty and tragedy of an ancient culture experiencing the growing pains of intense transition.

What will strike me most about the US is the noise and frantic clutter of life- the same aspects that I so easily leave behind every time I travel, and that greet me with such savage bluntness upon each return.  The ease of communication will also be immediately apparent- a common language and familiar customs.  I have to be careful not to lose my curiosity and keen sense engagement.   I’m afraid of drowning in the comfort and convenience of it all.


I leave Upernavik on Sunday with a backpack full of notes and paintings, my memory adorned with indelible, indescribable impressions that, like the slow rise and fall of the sea itself, speak of forever.  The journey is over- or is it just beginning?


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