Don’t look back in anger
How an Inuit custom can help you through the holidays
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.