Moored at Lock 45, Port Severn, The Icebreaker Sweet Shoppe
Four years ago this week, I was on board a nuclear-powered icebreaker steaming toward the North Pole. That voyage is one of my fondest memories. Yesterday, then, when I traveled to the edge of the Canadian Shield at Lock 45 on the Trent-Severn waterway, I was tickled to encounter another icebreaker.
I couldn’t go aboard the Icebreaker Sweet Shoppe, because she was closed for business. I would have in an Iqaluit minute, had her crew been dispensing sweets. I pine for icebreaker adventures. Nothing carrying people on the surface of the ocean compares to an icebreaker. They are working ships, not designed to pamper passengers. Sail on an icebreaker and beware. Sail on an icebreaker and you’ll never go back to vanilla.
The family reunion is in August, just 11 minutes from where the ISS is moored. I’m bringing the entire clan for an ice cream and a photo opp. We’ll make sweet memories.
For six and a half years I immersed myself in all things polar. The day began with a perusal of Arctic and Antarctic news, which I shared through this blog, and most recently, the Linkedin group – Polar Professionals. Five days a week, from 9 to 5, the polar regions were forefront, and when the worked called for it, the weekends too!
I am now free to redefine myself: free to take on a new persona. Evolve, as my pal Trish is wont to say. Yet, I am not ready to let go of the polar in me. There are places in the North I’ve yet to see. The South is my siren’s call.
First step, then, is to consider how I can retain polar in the evolution of me. Redefining is out. Evolution is in. Stay tuned.
I admit that when I read that Prince Harry was joining the Walking with the Wounded expedition to the North Pole I was worried. Not for Harry nor for the vets whose efforts will raise money for a British charity that assists injured servicemen and servicewomen. I was worried that he wouldn’t make it to the church on time.
Needless worry on my part. The plan is for Harry to participate in the first week of the month long expedition. Then return to his duties as a soldier and a prince. One of those princely duties is patron of the Walking with the Wounded charity. Harry is putting more than his name on the line for the organization.
I’ve seen Arctic Ocean ice. I know that it won’t be smooth hauling for the four vets who will complete the mission. Pressure ridges must be climbed. Leads must be crossed. Bitterly cold temperatures must be survived. The expedition occurs in April, so the members won’t have 24 hours of sunlight to assist them.
Remembrance of our veterans – in any country currently at war – should not be limited to November 11 ceremonies. Say thank you to the vets you know. Support the charities of your choice. Make an informed decision when you vote so that our armed forces personnel are properly equipped and cared for when they are injured. It is the least we can do for those who have volunteered for the front lines.
Image via Wikipedia
A group of living beings, residents of Alaska, require a pro-bono DC lobbyist to manipulate the political system to protect their environment. Without assistance this unique group will be ignored by the organization vested with the responsiblity of caring for them.
No, they aren’t children, seniors or the mentally ill. Those interest groups aren’t limited to Alaska. The Threatened are Pacific walruses, at risk of extinction, because the interests of oil and gas producers, and the pockets they line. Odd really, because odobenus, and their cousins pinnipeds, plus whales were, for a long time, a major source of domestic oil.
“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings” Lewis Carroll was the voice of the walrus a century ago. Who will speak for the walrus today?
great-grandmother Partridge`s father was a tide master.
We all travel. The difference is how we define travelling. If traveling is a metaphor – then you travel throughout your life from childhood to old age. The literal meaning of travel – going from point a to point b by foot or by means of transportation - may be as simple as leaving the suburbs to travel into the city to visit a museum, once a year; or as complex as a voyage to Antarctica or the North Pole.
Rather than making a New Year’s resolution, I have chosen a metaphor – travel – as my goal for 2011. I choose to continue on an internal journey that will result in external changes.
I know when I began that journey – en route to the North Pole. [Note the symmetry.] I met someone who was the subject of an episode of “Who do You Think You Are?” – the Irish version. When he told me the discoveries the genealogists had made about his family history, I was left with a personal question, “Why do we define ourselves by race, nationality and religion?” Are we really who we think we are?
My ancestry was a mystery. We could not trace it back more than 3 generations, and that was only on the maternal side. Due to a catastrophic event in the 1920s we believed we would never have the answers to the paternal lineage. As the genealogists say, we faced a brick wall.
In 2010, we found a way over that brick wall. With the new-found information about our family tree, how we define ourselves changed completely. I am at a crossroad. Do I adopt the reality, and reject a half a century of self-definition? Or do I let go of the past, defining myself only in terms of the future? That is my 2011 journey.