MAGNETIC NORTH

Field and Stream - - GIANT - —Thomas McIn­tyre

My ob­ses­sion as­sumes solid form above lat­i­tude 66. There, North turns Arc­tic, the real Arc­tic found from Septem­ber to March in a place of game. As the sun sweeps around the hori­zon be­tween the equinoxes, land and wa­ter har­den, whiten, heave, crack, and crush. And across level plains ad­vance wild an­i­mals. The coats of musk oxen make them into brindled hillocks on gray­stockinged hooves, their casqued horns the color of straw, turn­ing up­ward to brown tips as steam bil­lows from square muz­zles. The shovel-antlered cari­bou are nearly white, the herds in their thou­sands mov­ing with­out pause, ten­dons slip­ping over foot bones, fill­ing the air with the cu­ri­ous sound of click­ing. And where the herds part in the dis­tance, the air shim­mer­ing even be­low zero, wolves hunt—with

qaavik, the wolver­ine, wait­ing to scav­enge.

Here, the bears are white as the ivory of wal­ruses. And per­haps the con­ti­nent’s last true hunters, the Inuit, do more than sub­sist, in­struct­ing us that a ter­rain of frozen white­ness could be Eden.

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