This poem, published in The Blue Hour Literary Magazine, reflects our actual vacation a little more closely. Now that I think about it, we may have gone to Moose Factory as well.
At the Gateway to the Arctic
In summer, the road stops miles to the south. Beyond here, one flies in a propeller plane, something we’d never do.
Moosonee did not feel like True North. The streets were unpaved, but no polar bears roamed them. The water on the beach was cool, not icy, not like the water I swam in off Nova Scotia. The Moose River did not scour the beach. It was not yet Hudson Bay. It was not even Moose Factory.
We walked past free paperbacks on a table. You told me not to take them. Carry in, carry out, as if we were camping.
In winter, the road continues north. If I had, despite you, taken that copy of Arctic Dreams, would I have driven up that road to find True North? Or would I still have stopped short, my travels on the compass ending one afternoon at The Gateway to the Arctic.
I have to include this picture of actors on their way to Moose Factory via helicopter. I would never willingly get on a helicopter, but my grandmother once said that she would have liked to have taken a ride in one of those contraptions.