What Arabou Learned to Share With Us, and to Separate Us


We started again at the Noatak River, and each speed ship was near us at the Chukchi Sea, and at the end. I understand the principle & # 39; a that was not possible to close the & # 39; and a half years in the wilderness north of re looga return. What I can't see is what a return might look like in practice. Right now, I knew that nothing was important. There are things we can understand until we live. Being part of the caribou was a closure I would ever need.

Like all of us, I go out to bond at a time of uncertainty. I hear the school bell ringing in the street and listen slowly to the sounds of children who don't come. I stand six feet away from my sister and I feel like there is a deep stretch and pain between us. I lock my kids, because I can still. Then I close my eyes and look at the caribou lying in bed, believing that the sun will rise and get warm, knowing that the night will pass.

We are not caribou. We are not drowning in the ground every spring and fall, looking for food and shelter. We cannot survive the cold heat and the heat of the willows. Mosquitoes and wolves are not our main enemy. The common reality of our human life do it matter, and depth. But even now, when I want to believe in the happy ending, I find myself turning to the resistance of the Arctic river. Wild eyes of a bright calf different from her mother, the white skeleton of the injury of last season's crisis, I am convinced that it is easy to stay. Caribou reminds me that we have to reconcile the reality of our existence and our values ​​we stand to lose.

In the end, we might not be so different from the caribou crossing the river. As we struggle with the current one, we are proud of the fact that we are not alone. We greet our neighbors on screen, through windows, distances that feel narrow and unnatural, and exchange quiet blessings with each other, knowing that we, as a caribou, community are everything. Even wearing our invisible flowers, we could feel the flock of sheep floating on the mountains. We know that no one can save us.

By collecting the courage to jump in, waiting for the shock of the cold water to pass, and feeling the palms of our personal choices, we begin to act as one. In order to live together, we must be brave. We must be kind. We must learn when to move forward as a leader and when to take action so that others can safely move on. During those moments when fear is holding my breath, I will remember the steam coming from the back of the caribou, I see mothers bravely drifting into the cold waters with their big bodies around, and trusting myself that we too can find the path.


Caroline Van Hemert is a wildlife biologist and author of "The Sun is a Computer", which was released in a letter in February.