Thursday, January 22, 2009

Post Polar Bear Season

It was a relief after bear season for Churchill to return its quiet Northern existence. I moved out of the North Star staffhouse and into a cozy 2-bedroom house with Leonard. With no obligations, I spent the next two weeks doing absolutely nothing: sleeping, watching HOUSE on DVD, taking Kona for walks and cracking down on her house manners. She managed to rapidly learn a few cute tricks like roll-over, spin in a circle, and shake a paw… but definitely not “come” or “stay” while she was outside. The little brat escaped over a snowdrift against the fence in our backyard a few times and gallivanted around town with the neighbourhood dogs on several occasions before we figured out what she was doing!
In no time, Christmas-time was approaching. Leonard and I took a trip to the old Dene village, which consists of the concrete bases of many small establishments within a boreal forest setting. Churchill had a fairly heavy snowfall, and the coniferous trees were weighted down by snow. With this in mind, we agreed to get a tamarack tree, a species that loses its needles for the winter. After finding the right tree, we tossed in the bed of the truck we had borrowed, and carried on back to town. It didn’t take long for us to lose the tree, as we hadn’t strapped it down at all… and had been driving for a ways before we realized it was gone! Luckily, Leonard had a makeshift belt made out of string, which he took off in order to tie down the tree. It had to be adjusted once or twice again before we made it back to town, only 20 km or so from where we were! Having chosen a tamarack tree, we hadn’t realized that it would look rather scraggly in the context of our living room. The bare branches and lack of green made it look like it was out of a Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon, or the Nightmare Before Christmas movie, which was rather funny.
New Year’s Eve, Leonard and I went out to Goose Creek, a cottage subdivision, not far from the old Dene village. We hung out by a bonfire with some friends for a few hours, had some beers and some good laughs. A few fireworks were set off, accompanied by nature’s own light show, the aurora borealis. We carried on home not long after midnight, and after picking up Kona at home, continued to a house party in town.
I had bought myself a yellow Ski-Doo skandic, a hefty machine. One particularly beautiful day in January, I took Kona for a long run with the ski-doo, up and down town. On our way back, I stopped in at Home Hardware, her favorite spot, because the clerks behind the counter always gave her TLC and cookies! I could never walk past the store without her leash on, because whether or not it was closed, she would beeline to the door and wait to be let in for her treat. After I got home that day, we romped a bit in the snow, and while shoveling off my steps, she bounded off to visit her neighborhood canine friends. Unfortunately, after that wonderful day, it was the last time I saw Kona alive. Sadly, she was run over not long after, down the street and around the corner from our place. We cremated her later that week, and bid her a fond farewell.