lessons from the arctic (3)

in time, you will learn to cherish the windy stretches, and the rainy stretches, and the chilly stretches. this is because you'll have to pull on your shell and raise the hood, cinching it firmly around your chin and your cheeks, to protect your soft body from the world. despite your best efforts, your lips will still be chapped, your nostrils gently cracking as they dry out while simultaneously dripping snot.

but you will cherish these moments because of how wonderfully isolating they are. ahead and behind you, other people; some of them you've been near continuously for days. in these moments, you cannot speak to each other, for the sounds of your voices are muffled by your scarves, and the rustling of tough fabric around your ears crushes their replies.

in some moments, you may notice something you have to tell your hiking partner, so you learn to pitch one or three or four syllables above the roar of the wind. 'blaze!' you might yell, hoping they turn to see you pointing off to the left, where they didn't yet look. slowly, though, you understand one of the many reasons people who spend most of their lives in this part of the world tend towards a concision of speech.

when you return to a more loquacious setting, you might find it hard to make small talk again. it's okay; just mimic what other people say.

31 August 2018 21:23

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