[For] Play

By Natalie Strijak, Iqaluit, NU

The tip of my tongue tickles and trips to tell you the tales that the town’s titles told this tourist today.

It is only fitting that the story be told on Whalebone Drive, but it could have easily been told on Moby Dick Way, Pequod or Tashtego Crescent. While it may have been told by Mary (Road), notably the girl next door, it could have easily been Jeanette, Bertha, or Suzanne who shared with me these tales.

The teller seemed rather down to earth, or “rock”, perhaps near Boulder Bluff, Cliff Cottage, Brickyard Beach or Wheel Barrow Nursery. Shared with so much modesty over near Little Blvd. and Tin Can Valley, was I ever surprised to hear of the tantalizing tales of purple puppies, rugs that were hugged, a hut made of happy hair, a shack of scissors but to pay the least bit of worry to the flying shingle that appears but once a week. I tried to get it straight when I was told of the Moo-seum but as I drove by Farm Gate Finds, I was not quite sure what I would uncover.

Chasing these winding roads my belly began to grumble over each bump and dip. My head started to spin as my eyes scanned through the glorious green and yellow foliage with tidbits of textile color emerging as reused salvage material forms folk art. A faded string of prayer flags, a rusted-out truck whose bonnet now serves as a flower pot, tattered old furniture painted with bright colors and chipped and cracked hand-painted figurines peek through the leaves.

Heart pounding with fear, I am quiet as the car spins left and right. Dizzyingly I ask the driver to pull over. Grabbing the camera, I stagger my way to the curb, taking in deep breaths; I look left to right to see what I could capture, then I realise... I am car sick.

Back at The Haven, I sipped mint tea and nibbled dry bread to settle my nausea. I went through my pictures and overheard a man speaking nostalgically about the outhouse races that had once been an annual feature of the island. I flipped to the picture of a toilet turned quirky-pig-lawn ornament, which appears to be wearing a Mexican hat made of metal. I have come to realize that the relationship between the environment and the people is that which is playful in nature. The lone tourist was lost in its over-stimulated frenzy, left to discover and smile with amusement.

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