More than 1 month has passed since my last post. Not because there wasn´t anything to write about. Rather the opposite – it feels like there are too many pictures to choose from and too many thoughts and experiences to share. So, where should I start?
In one of my last posts I mentioned the hunters being out for weeks, waiting for narwhals. Finally, in the middle of Juli, Ingkasi catched 2 narwhals at Romerfjord and thereby was the first hunter to bring fresh mattak (the skin of the whale, very rich on vitamines) and whale meat back to the community this year. I was very proud of him!
The joy in Greenlandic communities over hunters coming home with food supplies long waited for is something very special. It goes back to a time where successful hunting was absolutely crucial for survival in the Arctic. Back then, women and children would run down to shore, sometimes shouting and dancing of joy to welcome their husbands and fathers coming home with fresh meat. I must admit that I haven´t danced to Ingkasis arrival yet, but maybe I will, some day 🙂 ! I feel privileged to experience at least some of the joy that hunters wifes must have felt in those days before european food supplies became available.
Also, fresh mattak can´t be bought in any supermarket, and for us living in a place where a single apple or a banana, if available at all, often costs as much as 2 Euro, mattak is still an important source of vitamines. To me, it has a fresh taste of summer and sunshine, and eating it throughout the long and dark winter gives me new energy and makes me thankful to be married to a hunter!
– Mattak, dried fish and an apple enjoyed outdoors on a summer day, close to the shore of Jameson Land –
But let´s go back to life in East Greenland long before european contact. This summer, I had the opportunity to visit an ancient Inuit winter-settlement at the coast of Liverpool Land. I had been there once before, in 2007, and already back then the atmosphere of this place almost took my breath away… in-between those stones, we still can see and touch, people slept, ate, – lived!
Standing by the Inuit settlements ruins at Rathbone Ø, I try to imagine how the families who once lived here survived the dark and stormy winters, and what hardships they must have endured. How they took care of their children and how men and women worked together in providing shelter, warmth, food and clothing for their families in an environment as harsh at the East Greenlandic coastline. How incredible skilled, patient and brave they must have been, those hunters and their wifes!
– The entrance stones of one of the dwellings at Rathbone Ø are still in place –
Some of you might have visited the cabin in Kap Høgh on a dog sledging trip through Liverpool Land. It is a cabin very seldom visited by local people in summertime. But every summer for the last 10 years, a team of researchers is spending several weeks in the cabin while studying the little auks on the nearby hill. In all those years, the researchers told us later, only 3 times anybody from the outside had visited Kap Høgh (including us!). When we arrived at midnight, they were asleep and had therefore not heard the engine of our boat. So when Ingkasi knocked at the (locked) door and woke them up, they opened it very carefully, having a rifle at hand, not expecting a human being but rather a polar bear! We kind of understood that behaviour later, when they told us about several Polar Bear visits on previous days and marks of polar-bear claws on the outside door.
– The cabin at Kap Høgh –
On that trip to Kap Høgh we also visited Lillefjord. It was a lovely and peaceful evening.
– Lillefjord –
Visiting Kap Høgh, Rathbone Ø and Lillefjord wasn´t just for fun. A friend of us, who is an artist, is doing an art and photography project about hunting cabins in the Ittoqqortoormiit area. She hired us to visit some of those cabins during her stay in Ittoqqortoormiit this summer. That gave me a chance to take pictures of them too…
– The cabin at Rathbone Ø –
On another trip we visited cabins at southern Jameson Land and Hurry Inlet. I feel that there´s a special atmosphere to each cabin. Nature as well as people who stayed here have set their marks, and that impression flows together with individual memories from previous visits and overnight stays. Been there once, I always like to come back to revisit and to create new memories.
– The cabin at Dombrava in the most beautiful evening sun –
Now I´ve given you a few glimpses of our summer, so far. But yesterday morning, when I looked out of the window, summer was gone – there was snow on the ground!! And it´s not even september yet!
After a warm and very dry summer it finally stated to rain this week, followed by wind and snow. Today, the snow is gone, and while I am writing this, the sun has just broken through the clouds again. It feels like summer is coming back ones more. But for how long will it last??