Land Behind The Glass
Tatiana Pirie, Grade 7
Have you ever wondered why a shadow passes the glass when you’re looking in the mirror?
Well if you look close enough you may see someone other than your self, somewhere not wherever you are, if you keep looking closely, carefully, you may even see another world, a world not of this time, a world that’s cold, a world in a place we now call the Arctic Icecap-Canada…
Cursed to life behind glass, in a time unknown to myself, I resume my daily chores and hope for the freedom of my own time. My job is to make anoraks for my people, so we can keep warm; I make them with the leftover skins of the animals that my father’s troupe hunts. My mother is teaching me to make boots out of sealskins and caribou.
I see myself with rosy cheeks against the cold wind my round face bordered by tufts of animal pelts. I gaze at the other me with olive skin and shining brown eyes, snowflakes dusting my eyelashes.
I wonder about this girls life – what is her name? How old is she? I am afraid to ask her in case she fades away.
Behind her is a wondrous site – white snowy plains glistening in the arctic sun, icicles sparkling like diamonds. The sky is blue as lapis lazuli. The air smells fresh, fantastic. I hear in the distance the gulls calling to their young. Far away the whales sing harmoniously in the great expanse of blue sea. Seals bark and penguins march along the frosty cliffs to the freezing ocean.
She opens her hand and shows me a whale bone that is carved with ancient symbols that seem so strange but so familiar like a distant memory calling to me through time.
I feel connected to this girl – her life force sings to me in my blood – I wonder how I could have never noticed her before yet seen her everyday.
For all my life we will remember this moment – staring across the glass at each other – so familiar yet so foreign, close enough to touch but removed through time and space – always apart, always together.
I get the courage to ask her name – she sings to me Ataneq the name drums around in my head.
It occurs to me that this girl has never seen facebook, twitter or a mobile phone, she has no DVD player or I-POD touch – yet she has a wealth of knowledge that I will never come to understand. She knows the old stories from ancient times, she can sew and improvise, she can survive without the technology we rely on today – she can survive the coldest of winters, eat basic foods and be happy. I have so much to learn from this simple girl and her primitive life.