Day Five: Monday, September 27, 2010
One Earth Family
Far from feeling rested after the immensity of the work we did yesterday at the North Pole, we meet this day knowing that today will be just as full as the day before. Lisa and Louisa meet us at the Inns North where we are staying in Resolute Bay, soon after breakfast. Sunanda, Rishi and I meet these wise Inuit healers once again to reaffirm the need for all people of all races and creeds around the world to understand one another at this time more so than ever. How easy it is for people to focus on differences, forgetting the richness of our true human nature and our brotherly interconnection. In a world that is to a great extent fueled by greed and suffering perpetuated through misunderstanding, we see the ravages of short-term vision tearing at the fabric of Nature Herself. Language can so easily divide. Yet the heart unites. We share with both of these beautiful women a connection that feels timeless and universal.
Sam The Inuit Hunter
Satish soon joins us to let us know that he has made arrangements with Lisa’s brother Sam for us to board his hunting boat. We are to go by boat to an iceberg, where we will showcase Satish’s fabric and where I will sing.
Chris, the innkeeper, kindly drives us down the gravel road through the open land to the coast of the Arctic Ocean. There we meet Sam, who is busy cleaning his aluminum boat of a layer of ice and blood. Clearly not a recreation vehicle, Sam’s ten-foot-long by four-foot-wide motorboat is his main vehicle for hunting beluga whale.
Through we have never met before, Sam’s kindness is immediately obvious. A man short in stature but large in strength and heart, it is as though his form has emerged from the surrounding rock of this landscape. He provides us with life jackets and extends his hand to help each of us onto the slippery metallic surface of his boat. I look down where I now place my feet. The bottom of the boat is a pool of red ice water. At first I feel a wave of revulsion flutter through my stomach. As I look at Sam and his gentle manner, it is clear that hunting in this context is not based on ego-driven power and cruelty, but is part of a cycle of life based on survival and evolution. These are the traditional ways of the Inuit – before airplanes, frozen food provisions and cheese-flavoured Doritos.
As the boat picks us speed, the Arctic wind cuts through my down coat, hood and gloves. I look at Sam who is dressed in a light jacket, wearing running shoes and no gloves. Armed with his hunting rifle slung over his chest, he looks out towards the broad ocean, standing with his hands on the steering wheel, his face carved by the harsh wind. He exudes a calm confidence as one who is born into this.
We pull up to the side of a large, flat iceberg surrounded by clear light-blue water. The edge of the iceberg hovers over the water’s edge. Crystalline icicles like razor-sharp teeth extend towards the surface of the ocean.
Sam nimbly hops off his boat and onto the iceberg and once again helps us all do the same. He quickly points out areas on the ice that are too thin to walk upon, making sure we are all safe. His gun is ready, should any polar bear or sea creature decide to emerge from the ocean, while we are on this floating ice island. We choose our spot for the video shoot. The wind is brutally cold. We get right to work. The sun is now shining, but will not be for long.
Parvati and Satish on an Iceberg
Satish pulls open his fabric from his jute carrying case. Sunanda, Sam and I take a portion to help him draw it open. Rishi runs his video camera up and down its length, capturing its green colour and message fluttering in the wind. Satish seems happy, despite shivering in the freezing cold. He has traveled so far for this moment. On this iceberg, in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, he exposes the hand-penned words of dignitaries from around the world as a call to ecological action in light of the melting polar ice. I am proud to hold the portion of the eco-silk fabric that I happened to sign.
Rishi has captured all the footage needed. As Satish folds away the fabric, I set up my performance location and soon begin to sing the same four songs I performed at the North Pole just yesterday. This will provide us with both potential cut-away shots from yesterday’s performance and backup footage should the material from yesterday be unusable. In this vast open space, I imagine that the shimmering surface of the icy water and the undulations of the ocean waves carry the sounds of my voice singing “Hear This Prayer”, “Yoga In The Nightclub”, “911-1-L-O-V-E” and “You Gotta Believe” to every corner of the world. The air and ocean are my microphone and messengers, and all the world’s a stage.
With the light now growing dim and Sunanda catching a chill, we must get back to prepare for my performance this evening at the Inns North. We step into Sam’s boat and make our way to solid land. Once back to shore, we walk past the dog sled team that jumps up, alerted by our presence. With a dozen dogs staring us down, Sam encourages us to walk briskly by, as these animals are unfamiliar with us. The sight of Chris’ warm van driving towards us is a welcomed sight. Using binoculars from the Inn he saw Sam’s boat return and made his way to collect us. En route back, we hear the local radio station announce my performance tonight, a series of Inuktitut words and then my name, Parvati. We laugh. We all look forward to the community gathering tonight at the Inn, Meghan’s idea to turn our visit into the start of a regular coffeehouse event at the hotel.
Parvati Performs at the Inns North, Resolute Bay
While we were out on the iceberg, Meghan and Chris were preparing for tonight. With the smell of fresh-baked sweets, and the sound of furniture shifting, there is a buzz of excitement in the Inn. We grab a quick bite and then Sunanda and I go upstairs to prepare for the event.
About 50 people soon fill up the hall. The dining room becomes a stage. I sing “Sanctified Skin”, “Open To This Love”, “Precious”, “You Gotta Believe” and “Hear This Prayer”, after which I encourage others to make an offering to the evening. A few local teenage girls share their talent in Inuit throat singing. Louisa, in traditional costume, brings out her drum to accompany them. Then Sam gets up to dance and play Louisa’s drum. There is laughter, sharing and warmth here, in the Arctic desert at Resolute Bay. Sharing this light, this love is what we have come here to do. In the language of love, music and interconnection, we are one human family, all children of the same Earth Mother.