beauty, British Columbia, buddy, Canada, cold, darkness, dreaming, fascinating, fly, friendship, Irish, moment, nights, NWT, perfect, pilots, poetry, share, St. Patrick's Day, stories, sunset, thoughts, Vancouver, windy, Yellowknife
At a time in my life I was temporarily living in northern Canada, Yellowknife, NWT. The first time I had gone was in April and snow was still surrounding at that time, but it wasn’t much colder than a winter in British Columbia. I only went for a week, and then I returned in July for 2 weeks. This was when there truly was no darkness. You really only needed 3 hours of sleep to feel like you had 7. There were a few nights I spent that week staying up all night and watching the sun dip down only to bob up again in less than an hour; it was fascinating. I met a lot of people from all over Canada. Yellowknife taught me what it meant to be Canadian, but I’ll save that for another story, when it is not St. Patrick’s day. I went back to Yellowknife for 3 months and took distance education with my current University back in Vancouver. This time I went up from September until December. This was a shock to my system. It got really cold, and I mean REALLY cold. And if it were windy, you did not want to leave the apartment. I spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts, while three pilots came in and out of the apartment for their lunch and that was about it. And this was when it was dark. Vampires would have liked living in the north during winter. I fell into hibernation mode, and did a lot of sleeping, a lot of eating, and a lot of thinking/dreaming. At one point, the only person for a week’s time that was around was my roommate Darren, who had a nice Irish accent. We always had a special connection. He was thoughtful, and understanding. Most importantly, he took an interest in my life. He told me stories about his brother and that he had a writing side to him. I told him stories about my family, and that I was an 8th Irish. Maybe that’s why we had a ‘story-like’ friendship.
There was one night that I will always remember. I was home on the deck watching the sky in my chair. I was doing some thinking, and then my buddy appeared and asked if I’d like a beer. Darren and I stayed up watching the sky and talked for hours. I was talking about my writing, and he asked me if he could hear something I’ve written. I wasn’t used to people requesting that, so I jumped up and went inside to grab my “book”. I read him the poem I wrote about the Yellowknife skies. We didn’t say much after, but there was an understanding between us. I appreciated that I shared something with him, and that he understood without having to say more. We went back inside and that was that. Darren was someone that I knew I could confide in and he would be a friend that I could trust. I haven’t seen him, or heard from him for a few years now, but when St. Patrick’s Day roles around, I think about sharing my poem and stories with him. I hope that wherever he is tonight, he is happy, and laughing. Most importantly, I hope that friends are surrounding him that do not take his nature for granted. I hope that one day we will hang out again and share some stories. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my Irish buddy; wherever you are. Maybe the message will get to you….
This is the poem I shared with Darren, and I wrote for the pilots of Canada’s north:
A Pilot’s Pearl
It overwhelms you to the point where you need to look away, but you’re so consumed your eyes are frozen.
It’s momentary beauty forces you to believe that you were the one chosen.
I can’t decide if it would be a dark, black, eternal sheet with patterns of holes with white light shining through.
Or if it would be a bright blanket of liquid-like colours that blend into each other becoming one, never two.
You see, I long to be engrossed to the point where it is pulling me to fly.
The point of no return.
I wait, and wait, until the moment I know I have seen the perfect sky.
– Tia D. O’Grady