Don’t look back in anger

How an Inuit cus­tom can help you through the hol­i­days

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Contents -

How an Inuit cus­tom could help you through the hol­i­days.

THE FES­TIVE SEA­SON is a time for fam­ily, friends, good cheer and, some­times, for fray­ing tem­pers. If you’re feel­ing cross on a cold win­ter’s day, then fol­low the ex­am­ple of the Inuit peo­ple. Take a stick and walk away through the snow, and keep go­ing un­til your wrath has ebbed and ended, then plant your stick in the ground as a marker to show the depth of the rage you’ve es­caped.

Long dis­missed as an ur­ban – or Arc­tic – myth, there are in fact hun­dreds of Inuit words for dif­fer­ent kinds of snow and ice. Pukak means fine pow­der snow like salt; man­gokpok is wet snow; au­niq is ice with holes like Swiss cheese. The Scots lan­guage is packed with frozen vo­cab­u­lary too: aca­demics com­pil­ing The His­tor­i­cal The­saurus of Scots found 421. A large snowflake is a blett or skelf; a small one a fig­gerin. Fy­oonach is a sprin­kle of snow that just whitens the ground; a murg is a heavy fall of the stuff. So when you re­turn, re­vived and re­freshed, from your walk you can find just the right words to de­scribe it.

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