Follow our journey
I’m so excited to bring Meet the North Live! to New York City next week! It’s always a thrill to share stories, sounds, and images from our visits with northerners in Arctic communities around the world. This event is by invitation, but there will be other opportunities – and hopefully I’ll see some of you in the audience next time.
Thank you to @lindbladexp for hosting and supporting!
I left Earth three times / and found no other place to go. / Please take care of Spaceship Earth. .
– Walter Schirra, Astronaut on Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space flights.
I believe that storytelling can build cultural understanding. I believe that listening is powerful and that every voice matters.
The world is far too grand and diverse to be funneled through a screen – though when I’m not out meeting people I spend quite a bit of time in front of one. If I ever question this decision, I remember what Anne Lamott had to say: “When what we see catches us off guard, and when we write it as realistically and openly as possible, it offers hope.” There’s no glitz to the screen time, but there’s power in the language.
I commit to being caught off guard. Over and over and over.
Thanks to Eric Guth for capturing this moment.
“What do you love about Shelly?” I asked. “Her vibrancy I suppose. She looks at things positively, and she brings a lot of positive energy into our lives. She’s extremely intelligent, beautiful, and very talented in many different ways. She supports me, and I support her, and the two of us work well together – but there’s no question – you know she’s full of energy and life, and I was attracted to that.”
Carey and Shelly Elverum. Pond Inlet, Nunavut.
We loved getting to know this family, and we wanted to share a sliver of their story today. But as you well know, love flows in many directions. It takes a zillion forms and will not be parceled into categories. This is one photograph with one piece of one story. Diversity is beauty. Wherever you find love, find time to celebrate it.
Modern tupilaks bear little resemblance to the originals; in fact, none of the originals exist anymore. Pre-contact, tupilaks were fashioned from perishable materials and released to seek and destroy an enemy. If the enemy had greater power, the plan could backfire, killing the original maker. At that time, tupilaks were powerful, secret objects, never intended to be seen.
The story goes that when explorers began asking for descriptions of tupilaks, some Inuit made models to demonstrate. These models evolved into the next generation you find all over Greenland today – some as art (like these photographed at the museum in Nuuk), some as trinkets.
So remember when you pick one up at the local shop, that these objects – now ubiquitous in some Greenlandic communities – are a re-imagining of an object originally bestowed with the power to kill.
Unlike the peaks of mountains, which take centuries to change, icebergs etch new landscapes every day, and they look gorgeous in every circumstance. Fog + birds + ice.
It’s easy to forget that this Earth – our home – is so changeable. It’s humbling to meet her where she cracks and transforms herself. The diversity of the Arctic includes these beautiful rifts.
Who thought geology was boring? (Okay, I did, but I’m working on it.) Iceland 2016. .
“I saw where I could change things and make sealskin more commercially viable,” said Ditte Sorknæs, who had been CEO of Great Greenland Furhouse for six months when we took this photograph. “We are well underway, but now my commercial goal has transformed into a more ‘hippyish’ goal; it’s more centered on my employees. Good people stuck by here for 20+ years, and they are fighting every day. This is a more personal task than it has ever been. I have the same goals, but now I do it for the people.”
Magnus Salvarsson is a fifth generation islander here on Vigur in Iceland. It’s a tiny place, 2kms long by 400m wide, but it’s teeming with life from sheep to eiders to (more recently) tourists. Magnus loves to be here and help with the family businesses – which include sheep, eiders, and tourists – but he wouldn’t want to live here again. “I don’t have the stomach or the heart for that.” As a kid, he would take a tiny boat to school, “You were always wet when you came to school. It was okay for me, but not for my kids.” Magnus started out as a carpenter, but he got tendonitis at 28, so he became a lawyer. He’s married with two kids now and lives in town. Here he’s wielding a puffin net, still used by Icelanders who fancy puffin for supper.
As for living on Vigur in his youth: “For a girlfriend, that was totally impossible.”
We’re sharing stories from the north again starting today, which gives me a chance to celebrate this little bird and its incredible feats of strength. Arctic terns are at home in both the Arctic and the Antarctic . . . they are our polar transition bird! They can fly 40,000 kms/year, which is the furthest yearly journey of any bird on earth. Think about it: years of nearly continuous daylight with only the briefest transits through forested land.
After a few weeks down south ourselves, we’re following this endurance master to #meetthenorth once again.
#lindbladexpeditions #arctictern #birdsarecool #iceland #fledging #cornell