The Fading Year

By 2nd December 2011December 9th, 2019No Comments
As the Beluga Whales revel in the low tide gravel, sloughing their dead skin; so the Arctic is shedding its summer.

Birds, which have bred in their thousands, are leaving in a cacophony of sound, heading south, urging chicks to follow.

Young Guillemots, with under-developed wings, leap 150 meters to the safety of the sea, some landing short, a gift for the Arctic Fox.

Solitary Polar Bears come together at the shoreline, tolerant, where once blood would be spilt and wounds inflicted.

Caribou are restless, breathing heavily; though the musk oxen just munch on, oblivious. They are waiting for nothing.

With uncanny timing, all know it is approaching the darkness and quiescence befalls the deserted nesting grounds.

On a sliding scale, the temperature plummets and the sea begins to freeze; reflecting with glittering, crystallised diamonds.

A streaky film forms on its cooling surface, clusters of ice coagulate into bobbing, floating, disc like shapes.

Bumping, jostling, interlocking – until once more the sea-ice is complete and the Polar Bears can venture forth to hunt seal.

Giant cliffs sparkle; as their granite faces glaciate and waterfalls are stilled as they flow, like children playing statues.

Natural sculptures of white and silver illuminate in an amazing show of crystal chandeliers, in the ballroom of ostentatious stately homes.

The fading year is taking hold; it’s quick, it’s brutal yet to the observers eye it is magnificently, breathtakingly, beautiful.

Knowing the truth of the harsh reality, the caribou cross the ice fields, heading south, a marathon journey upon the frozen road.

Musk Oxen watch them go, they have no need to leave, they’ll survive; their large bulk and shaggy coat the ultimate protection.

As does the male Polar bear, braving it out while the female climbs the snow slopes, to seek, a natural ‘white-out’ birthing chamber.

Few creatures remain, as the storms surge, and winds whip the snow into thick flurries of illumination in the gathering muted darkness, lit only by perpetual moonlight.

The brief Arctic summer is over.

Jan Hedger

Author Jan Hedger

More posts by Jan Hedger

Leave a Reply