Embrace the Midday Moon


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Located just below the Arctic Circle, Iqaluit is (almost) the "land of the midnight sun." On the flip side, it is also (almost) the "land of the midday moon."

Yes, near-24-hour darkness takes some getting used to. It also requires a shift in perception, as I once learned during an impromptu lesson in northern living...

When I first started coming to Iqaluit, I stayed at Nunatta Residence - more colloquially known as "Old Res." Old Res is located on the outskirts of town, which equates to a 25 minute walk from downtown. However, instead of strolling past quaint cafés and boutiques, as I did in Montreal, I would speed-walk past sketchy warehouses and the local correctional centre. Some people didn't understand why I wouldn't just spend the $6 taxi fare to save the 20 minute walk (and probably years of my mother's life - she worries). Alas, I am a cheapskate pedestrian at heart, so I didn't mind.

In any case, my situation prompted the following conversation at the end of a work day in November:

Friend: "Are you walking to Old Res?"

Me: "Yep. It's still light enough. I don't mind walking during the day; I avoid walking at dark."

Friend: "At dark? Or at night?"

Me: [silence]

At the moment, it seemed to be a silly question. To me, they were one and the same.

Then I thought about it.

In the south, darkness tends to be associated with nighttime. It conveniently coincides with peoples' internal clocks: It gets dark. You go inside. You go to sleep.

In the north, however, that's not the case (and thank goodness for that, otherwise nobody would leave their home for the majority of the winter months). Instead, people go about their daily lives regardless of how many hours of daylight are available. Children play on the jungle gym after school. Parents go grocery shopping after work.

So my friend taught me this: Embrace the midday moon!

Just because it's dark outside, doesn't mean you have to stay inside.