A compass calibrated by my greed is a rather shrewd way to legitimize my agenda. However, true north on a compass such as this is a straight line to the edge of a really big cliff.
The ranks opened covertly to avoid the corpse. The invulnerable dead man forced a way for himself. The youth looked keenly at the ashen face. The wind raised the tawny beard. It moved as if a hand were stroking it. He vaguely desired to walk around and around the body and stare, the impulse of the living to try to read in dead eyes the answer to the Question.
I do not know if he had a name, but I called him North, an appellation I think Beck would have approved of, for it was the name the Dutch called the Hudson River when they first came here, when men set to changing the world in their image, and gave all the wild things their own names.
Every culture has its southerners -- people who work as little as they can, preferring to dance, drink, sing brawl, kill their unfaithful spouses; who have livelier gestures, more lustrous eyes, more colorful garments, more fancifully decorated vehicles, a wonderful sense of rhythm, and charm, charm, charm; unambitious, no, lazy, ignorant, superstitious, uninhibited people, never on time, conspicuously poorer (how could it be otherwise, say the northerners); who for all their poverty and squalor lead enviable lives -- envied, that is, by work-driven, sensually inhibted, less corruptly governed northerners. We are superior to them, say the northerners, clearly superior. We do not shirk our duties or tell lies as a matter of course, we work hard, we are punctual, we keep reliable accounts. But they have more fun than we do ... They caution[ed] themselves as people do who know they are part of a superior culture: we mustn't let ourselves go, mustn't descend to the level of the ... jungle, street, bush, bog, hills, outback (take your pick). For if you start dancing on tables, fanning yourself, feeling sleepy when you pick up a book, developing a sense of rhythm, making love whenever you feel like it -- then you know. The south has got you.
Slush is frozen over. People say that winter lasts forever, but it's because they obsess over the thermometer. North in the mountains, the maple syrup is trickling. Brave geese punch through the thin ice left on the lake. Underground, pale seeds roll over in their sleep. Starting to get restless. Starting to dream green.
Let me put it this way. Canada is not so much a country as a holding tank filled with the disgruntled progeny of defeated peoples.
Once upon a time, the Reindeer took a running leap and jumped over the Northern Lights.But he jumped too low, and the long fur of his beautiful flowing tail got singed by the rainbow fires of the aurora.To this day the reindeer has no tail to speak of. But he is too busy pulling the Important Sleigh to notice what is lost. And he certainly doesn’t complain.What's your excuse?
With thousands of years of history frozen in time, it's no wonder that many southerners like me romanticize the north as a place where we can freeze our former selves, thaw, and then bloom anew. Here it’s just you, the land, and your thoughts, and you can't leave until you've wrestled with yourself and emerged a survivor. But then again, the light is much more intense up here and everything looks different because of it. The sun hasn’t set in a couple of months, and you can see things much more clearly when it is light all of the time.
Wolf Star shines on wintry high,Gazing northward by and by.Ice and snow on shorelines lie,Wind and spirits haunt the sky.
In the South of England northerners were regarded then as uncouth, brutish, undisciplined savages ...
Let whoever wants to, relax in the south,And bask in the garden of paradise.Here is the essence of northand it's autumnI've chosen as this year's friend.