Twee Call of the North

It’s cold here, but not as bad as in Ottawa. Everyone’s quick to point out that it’s a “dry cold.” I can just hear Stuart MacLean doing a bit about this. So Canadian, talking about the weather. I discovered Yukon cold yesterday as I set out in the dim 9AM light in search of breakfast, on a Sunday, in downtown Whitehorse. Everything was closed. It was profoundly quiet. You forget how prevalent background noise is in a city, until you don’t have it anymore. As I was walking along Main street (which is all of 4 blocks and about 500 meters long), I was startled from my reverie by a shriek. A huge raven landed at my feet. It must have been 3′ tall.

I remember thinking, “That’s the fattest crow I’ve ever seen.” It was positively furry looking, better equipped for the -20C dry cold than I was. You don’t notice the cold here until very suddenly you can’t feel the end of your nose.

A bit later, Suzanne and Lisa were coming in to town to start preparing the office for the Porchlight staff (still hard to believe we have “staff” in the Yukon), and they too were accosted by huge ravens. Lisa came into the office mimicking them, “bloup, bloup, tweee!” It was funny at the time.

Tonight we’re driving out of town to Marsh Lake to try to catch the northern lights. They’re rated “active” right now and, with the cold and no moon, they could be spectacular. We haven’t been able to entice any of our staff into coming with us. Aurora are old news here. Porchlight Susan says, “Yeah, sometimes when I get up to pee at 2AM I go ‘Whoa, look at that'”

Photo: Singer/songwriter/activist Kim Barlow, and a Porchlight bulb, in Whitehorse.

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