July 9, 2018
Up so early I can see the sun actually rising, a long line of brilliant orange at the edge of sky, water, trees. Turning the other direction, I’m surprised by a streak of double rainbow in the sky.
Today is a winding-down day, the last full day of our class, Into the Wildflowers, at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. We visit greenhouses that grow tomatoes and greens here in the north. We drive past many of the amazing murals of the Seawall Project last year in Churchill, eat lunch in town, visit the Eskimo museum, and take a boat out into the mouth of the Churchill River where beluga whales rise in graceful curves around us in the bay, white adult whales and adolescent gray ones who don’t turn white until they are fully grown. When the guide drops a hydrophone into the water, we hear the whales calling and singing. Magical.
We finish at Prince of Wales fort, where the guide lets us veer from the tour to see a rare flower, bluebell, that both the bear guard and our instructor remember from last year. Even on a winding down day, this is at least the third new-to-us flower we’ve seen, along with Herriot’s sage and seaside lungwort.
In the evening we hear a Metis elder and her daughter talk about their life, culture, and art, then finish the day with a lovely sampling of traditional food–grilled char, bannock, and two kinds of jelly, cranberry, and fireweed.
It is hard to imagine leaving Churchill tomorrow. We are already scheming a return.
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