Awesome ~ Lauren Russell
"Awesome" is a word that people say quite a lot these days, especially if, like me, they happen to be from California. It's a regular part of our vernacular, and it can be used to describe anything from a good burrito to the newest funny cat video on YouTube.
Since I arrived in Makkovik, yesterday, I have been describing a lot of things as awesome, which is nothing new, except that since I have arrived, I have been using the word because I have actually been filled with awe. I have been struck by the beauty of this landscape which takes my breath away at every turn. This morning, walking from the day care center (which we have called home since we arrived) to the community center (which is our base of operations and makeshift clinic) I couldn't stop looking around, trying to take everything in and memorize the shapes of the houses and the trees and the mountains and the way the light hits the water early in the morning.
I want to be able to paint and repaint these images in my mind again and again long after I have left. I found myself doing the same thing this evening, when a few of us went back out onto the water with Dean and April as they performed the nightly check of their fishing nets. We went out just before sunset, a period of time photographers call "the golden hour," because the light is soft and warm and gives everything an added glow, not that this landscape needs any enhancement. The wind whipped our smiling faces and rushed through our hair carrying the cries of gulls and the occasional loon.
I knew, even as I snapped photos almost non-stop, that they would never capture the beauty of this place or allow me to convey this experience fully to friends and family back home.
Chatting with April and Dean on our way back to the harbor, I realized that we were all in the unique position of being equally grateful for each other through this project. As students, we are grateful for the opportunity to use our newly acquired skills as budding veterinarians. The community of Makkovik has been gracious and welcoming to us at every turn. A prime example of this came this morning, and would be obvious if you took a brief look around our "surgery suites" which are lit up with lamps and floodlights. Last night our technician and den mother Andrea Jack posted on the Chinook Project Facebook page that we were in need of lamps and extension cords; and this morning the community responded immediately, quickly filling the gaps in our inventory. When I think back on all the events today, from surgeries and cuddling with pets to a brisk boat ride at sunset, I realized there is only one word that describes it: "awesome."