Spring has arrived in the Arctic--or at least my part of the Arctic. With spring has come the melting. Everything is melting: the snow, the ice, the rivers... Little creeks and ponds have sprung up everywhere. That includes the main road through the middle of town. Almost overnight, it seems that snow banks became slush banks, ice became mud, and mud became muck. It is a drastic change from the -20C weather that was the norm only a couple of weeks ago.
The new weather brings some interesting changes to my wardrobe. Some changes are long-awaited and totally welcome, i.e. ditching long underwear as everyday wear. Other changes are not so expected but kind of cool: rubber boots. I am not talking any kind of rubber boot. I mean a fully insulated, industrial (at least that's what the label says), Kamik-brand bottle-green rubber boot. Imagine something you would wear in your fishing boat while on the way to gather seaweed for the local marine biology centre. I am wearing something similar in the picture below, but those are loaners [NOTE: Photo still to follow].
The story of how I came to borrow these boots illustrates Iqaluit's new muddy reality. Friday night, I was walking to a friend's house in downtown Iqaluit (distinguished from the rest of Iqaluit by the fact that it is in "town", i.e. less than 10 minutes from the Bay). Walking there, I came across a large puddle that required negotiating. On the one side of the puddle was the road, relatively dry. On the other side, a fairly big snowbank. I chose the snow bank. I chose unwisely. Almost as soon as I had stepped onto it, my right foot sank into the snow bank and, as I soon realized, the source of said puddle. I swore as I stood knee deep in slush with water rapidly soaked my EMS pants, MEC longjohns, Wigwam sock and Merrell hiking boot--which together probably cost me more than my court robes and which were now completely useless in keeping me warm or dry. My cursing turned to slight panic as I discovered the muck underneath the snowbank had taken hold of my boot like a little suction cup. As I struggled to get my right foot out, my left foot sank into another slushy pocket, not as deep but just as uncomfortable. A very nice gentleman witnessed my distress and walked over to see if he could assist. Happily, I made a not very graceful exit before he needed to intervene. Footwear intact and dignity slightly bruised, I arrived at my friends' door where they provided me with food, wine, warm socks, pants, and even a pair of boots to walk home in. Thank god for friends.
All weekend, I heard similar stories from folks in town; people had gone in up to their ankles, knees, thighs. You name it. It made me feel better. It also made me wonder if these stories get a life of their own, with everyone sinking a little deeper into the puddle every time.
But I swear to you, I was in up to my knee. .. :)