A Polar Night Blog

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  • THE RIVER AND I (AND TIME)

    THE RIVER AND I (AND TIME)

    Living on a 28 hour day has sent me off into a strange orbit around the 24 clock times with which I'm accustomed. Sometimes a mark such 1200 (midday) is my 2nd hour of wake, sometimes my 2nd hour before bed. Sometimes I am sleeping when it rolls around. I used to have a resonably regular cycle of emotions and energy levels associated with specific times of the day, where as in a 28 hour cycle my experience of each clock hour changes dramatically based on where (between wake and sleep) I am.

    05/12 first ski to river 3 hours before bed.

    I experienced this significantly on the day I first skied to the river, in the last 3 hours before my bedtime. A clear day, carving my way through freshly fallen, blue tinged snow on a frozen lake, against a backdrop of the most stunning pallet of sunrise-sunset I have seen on this trip- feeling hopelessy depressed, loveless and unmoved by any of it. On this day I sat at the river and drew it. The marks I made were akin to the pumping motions I make when my fingers are freezing and I want to get blood flowing, as if the act of drawing might restore some feeling.

    05/12 River drawing 1

    I wanted to return to this spot when I was happy again. In fact I decided I would re-visit this spot periodically over the course of this project to re-draw the river from the same position at similar clock times but different times of my 28 hour cycle. I hope in doing this to capture the time scale disparity between the river and I, where the river is flowing along just as it ever was- cold and constant through all Kilpisjarvi's darkness and light over hundreds of years while I oscillate wildly about this place in extremes of extascy and misery every few hours.

    06/12 River drawing 2

    I did return and draw the river again the next day, December 6th, same clock time but 6 hours before my bed time and happier. And again a third time on the 8th(same clock time) shortly after waking. When I got to the river for the third time though, it had changed. The place where the water pooled into the lake had begun to freeze over and the flowing water was totally black. The reflected sky that had once turned that water to red-wine just drowned. Sucked down under the rocks and ice without a single reflection escaping.

    08/12 River drawing 3 (drawing 3's text below)

    For my third drawing I didn't reflect on myself. I reflected on the river. I had taken it's form, it's sound, it's colour and reflections all for granted, but like everything here this body is changing as the dark comes too. My paper begins o freeze, and my pen too. I breath onto them both to keep the ink flowing but soon it's too cold. And I'm too cold. I can't feel any of my digits and literally cannot feel my ski poles in my hands on the return. When we get home I see it's minus 18 outside.