One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is continue my university education. One day I might even finish my B.A. Meanwhile, I work at an educational institution, so it’s really silly for me to not take advantage of such easy access to interesting courses. So……I have signed up for an online course! I am taking “Introduction to the Circumpolar World” and am very excited about it! Our very first assignment, after writing a profile to introduce ourselves to each other, was to write about what the word “North” means to us. What do I think of when I hear the word North?
When I hear the word “North”, I think of the spring, when the snow is soft and the lake ice is rotten, and looking for the silver downy crown of the first crocus on the warm hillsides. I think of driving to work into the sunrise and of it still being light when I leave at the end of the day. I think of the dusty streets and the last pocket of snow that lives in a shady corner of my yard.
When I hear the word “North”, I think of the summer, when the leaves finally emerge and the grass is green and the squirrels noisy; when the ice has gone off the lake and the dock is returned to the water and the children in the campground shriek as they jump into the icy water. I think of lazy Saturdays and daylight that lasts all night long.
When I hear the word “North”, I think of the fall that comes all too soon. Red leaves of fireweed and wild rosehips; yellow aspens that almost glow in the dark; the slow fall of leaves that foretell the fall of snow; the howl of wind that in one night strips the branches bare. I think of the fading light, crisp air, frost on the windshield and the long journey of the geese.
When I hear the word “North”, I think of winter: the squeak and crunch of snow under my boots; the boom of the ice on the lake; the warmth and crackle of wood in the stove; mountains crisp against the sky, the air clean and clear and the vista miles wide. I think of Northern Lights, endless nights, and cold and cold and cold.
When I hear the word “North”, I think of home.