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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Long Rise

Published: February 6, 2018

By Mark Seth Lender

(© 2011 Mark Seth Lender)

The Long Rise – Daybreak, after the storm. Mark Lender’s blog continues.

(Hudson Bay 5:31 AM, August 10, 2011) The storm of the night before is gone. There was a rainbow, huge, even in the vast expanse of Hudson Bay and the rocky flats that go on for miles and miles. It lasted for a long time, almost till the sun went down. Now, only that thin edge of cloud which lies in the east at sun up creases the horizon. It is not a perpetual dawn. Just long. A light that begins at half-past three and lasts an two hours more before the sun, orange and harsh and stripped-down, rises unceremoniously. Unceremonious because after all this waiting it happens all-at-once. Stripped-down because it is the elemental of itself, without a touch of moisture in the air to clothe the nakedness. All that is an hour away, this world still ruled by the dark of the inlet, the sea strangely brighter than what it reflects and studded with boulders, all black, like a mirror backed in mercury the polish here and there worn through.

(© 2011 Mark Seth Lender)


In the shadow-lit landscape three polar bears come out of nowhere. They climb up and onto the point. Two together move further out. One stays, a cutout of bear just above where the razor of the sea makes a distant line. He is a mountain, of darkness, the hump of shoulders and the bump of hips two worn peaks. And suddenly I am seen. And suddenly, he runs. This startles the other two and they run also and though it does not look fast because their improbable size destroys scale and common sense, it is fast enough, and a good thing they’ve chosen to run the other way. Only memory reveals the whiteness of their hair. Only common sense reminds me at this remove of their size.

And now the sun. And now the day. And that perpetual wind that warns of the cold that is to come in a matter of days.

Back to North Knife: An Expedition to Hudson Bay with Mark Seth Lender


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