Upon her first overflight of Ellesmere Island, Ahnah thought nothing was there but snow and polar bears, a notion both correct and clearly mistaken. She had returned to her childhood homeland, Grise Fiord, an isolated community, the “north end of nowhere,” as she referred to it, yet home, full of love, life, and enduring memories. There, she received the journal of her late grandfather, Jacopee, writings recorded during his seventy-year lifetime.
As a follower of an admixture of traditional Inuit spiritualism and Christianity, Jacopee reveled in small miracles that once spared his tribe from disease and death. Some said he was once a shaman; others dismissed him as an unschooled old man, whose outdated religious writings and teachings were lost to din of modern times. As his last days progressively dwindled from heart failure, Nunavut lost a noble soul who attempted to understand divine, Inuit challenges, and the Arctic regions he loved.
While flipping through pages and drawings, Ahnah discovered the grandfather she never knew, his inspired words of spiritual renewal and exploration:
Science versus creation:
I learned today that the earth is three billion year old. How can that be? When walking upon barren hills, I realized that beyond distant ancient headlands exists divine memory, an enduring presence of planetary genesis when Ellesmere and Greenland, embryonic twins, were formed during old-times, each with unique geological distinction by gods (before Christ) who shaped molten granite with dawning thought. How was this possible?
Earth’s creation – as it was described to me:
Ellesmere’s first sunrise, my personal journey to edge of earthly creation, crystal waterfall of understanding, blessed curse, mind staggering. In my dream journey, I glimpsed creation, before ice ages moved boulders, when our planet cooled, first breathing life-sustaining atmosphere. Above these folds of ancient rock my spirit soared, beholding snow-swept mountains, groaning glaciers swaddled protectively in billion year-old cradled rock. Lasting impressions. Geologic epochs.
Past, present, future:
For such moments, exhilaration of mortal soul, I have been touched by Holy Breather of Life, and in fearful, humbled ways, I returned my heart’s embrace to all living things, past, present, and future, to godly guiding hands nurturing a single cell struggling to evolve. Life has many pathways to discover God as whales travel their pathways, my personal journey from cold, dark rock to radiant auroral arch of Arctic night. Spiritual awakening, knowing celestial voice, most holy, heavenly firmament. To view distant stars and planets.
Meaningless disease and death:
I ask myself, the person I should be, what does it mean “God’s will?” Help me Holy Breather to understand the pain I have felt and witnessed. Guide me, eagle soaring overhead, to know what my people need to survive. Disease and starvation stalk us wolf-like in cold nights, taking weak ones, young and old alike. Many ill themselves, the living approach me for answers, search my face in fearful anger. I know not how to answer, bring hope to my own tribe, kindred hearts weary with despair. Anguta help rest souls of our dead, for we are of one tribe, bone and blood, one people questioning faith. Forgive us, oh Lord.
The people cold and starving:
During my sleep, Igaluk, the moon god visited me, instructed me to venture onto the ice under her silver light. The bitter cold night was clear, cloudless. Beneath my feet, ice creaks and moans as if her radiance resurrects winter dead, open floes, frees the ice-trapped icebergs. I am here to listen in silence to her words. We are her children. She will bring winds to open the ice, and with that will come walrus, seals, and narwhales, our life-sustainers. For we are cold and starving, and by her light and love we will be provided for.
For now, Ahnah closed her grandfather’s journal. After she ponders these entries and reckons with self-searching questions, she may share more of Jacopee’s spiritual voyage.