tunnel through nature
light to dark to light again
leads me to beauty.
“poetry is the tunnel at the end of the light.”
-j. patrick lewis
northside, ann arbor, michigan, usa
On Friday, the sun set for the final time in Barrow, Alaska, as the city plunges into polar darkness for the next two months and, in December, formally changes its name to Utqiaġvik, according to Alaska Dispatch News.
The next dawn in Utqiaġvik will be January 22, 2017, the first sunlight under its new name, an Inupiaq word that the wider area of Barrow has long gone by. The city of around 4,300 was incorporated in 1958 and originally took its name from nearby Point Barrow, named by a Royal Navy officer in 1825.
The city is the northernmost in the U.S. and each year spends a couple of months in darkness, owing to its position hundreds of miles north of the Arctic Circle, and about 2,000 miles northwest of Seattle.
Residents recently voted to permanently change the town’s name to honor indigenous peoples and the area’s roots. Locals seem relaxed about Barrow’s final sunset. As ADN reports, the sun “was nowhere to be seen” on Friday, and Qaiyaan Harcharek, a Barrow City Council member who led the drive to change the name, said the event didn’t have much of an effect on him. “I didn’t put much thought to it,” Harcharek told ADN.
“hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
credits: alaska dispatch news, erik shilling, university of alaska- fairbanks, atlas obscura
“In that distant beginning season, Sun Man’s warm magic flowed over all the land. Whenever he raised his arms, it was day. whenever he lowered them, it was night. The Bee People and the Elephant People and the Tic People loved the rhythm of Sun Man’s light. Their faces crinkled with pleasure in his heat.
But inside the dreamtime, Sun Man grew old. His back grew stiff and his knee joints ached. He rose later and later each morning. He napped soon after breakfast and went to bed in the afternoon.
“What’s going on here?” complained Grandfather Mantis. “I’m not getting heat anymore.” Grandfather Mantis sent the Bird People to find out. The Bird People returned, rumpled and solemn. Darkness was everywhere, even though it was supposed to be daytime. “Sun Man is getting old,” they explained. “This shining all the time is getting too much for him.”
“Well, I’m old,” snapped Grandfather Mantis. “Doesn’t stop me.”
His wife raised her eyebrows but said nothing.
― Carolyn McVickar Edwards, The Return of the Light
image credit: kyras.com
as i head into
the pace of life
bathing by candlelight
catching up with friends
in the coffee shop
on the street
there is a natural rhythm to it all
waking with the return of the light
sleeping when the dark returns once more
it’s a peaceful and quiet existence
i have to
in the pitch black
to go to school
there’s an art
to alert me
my clothes are on backwards
anything looks dramatically amiss
forward to the light
enjoying the calm
of the dark
wisely, and slow. they stumble that run fast.
image credit: maggielissel.com