Posts Tagged ‘wolf ruff’

To start reading from the beginning, go to May 11, 2008.

I loved the cold and snow when it arrived in Golovin. The freeze and
snow cover drastically altered the landscape. It softened and quieted
everything — especially during a heavy snowfall. Somehow the falling
snow and subsequent softening of sounds quieted my mind and my fears.

I had managed over the years to live through or mostly ignore my
fearful countenance. I assumed I was the only one of my family and
friends plagued with the constant companion of fear. It seemed to be a
part of my DNA as most of the time it was inexplicably there. I
felt its presence most acutely upon awakening in the morning. A slow
leisurely wake was never an option for me. The pang of fear met me every
morning like an alarm clock I couldn’t slam off with my palm or throw
against a wall. If I slept in, it was because I was in a dead sleep for
eight or nine hours. As soon as I woke up, I got up.

Every morning in Golovin I met Martin downstairs at the kitchen table
where he was finishing his second cup of coffee. I suspected he
believed my mornings were a girl-y leisurely wake-up to the day.
Everyone else had been up and working at least an hour or two. He
couldn’t and wouldn’t know that I became a warrior each morning when I
slayed a dragon who lay dead for 24 hours on my pillow.

The snow and freeze changed the way things were done in the store.
When the mail plane arrived with fresh produce like eggs and fruit, the
three-wheelers were quickly brought into service. It was a mere
two-three minute walk to the plane and grocery boxes set on the snow
packed ground, but in winter, it was a race against Jack Frost to get
the produce from the cold air and ground and to the wood heated store
before the precious fresh goods froze.

Couples from other villages traveled on snow machines hauling sleds.
Maggie’s store must have been better stocked than other villages as it
was no small feat to come so far across tough terrain or frozen waters.
It was nothing like a hop in a heated car to a local grocery. Their
trips involved extra gas, tarps, ropes and work. Maggie would meet them
at the door and while they exchanged greetings and news in Eskimo, she
brushed the snow from their parkys with a broom. If the heavy snow
melted and saturated their canvas and fur (squirrel) lined parkys it
would render their winter protection useless.

On my trip “outside” with Donny months before in the summer, I
purchased a down parka from an outfitters store. I expected it to serve
me well for my winter stay in the arctic. Maggie, however, replaced the
thin commercial ruff (coyote?) around the hood with a six inch wide
ruff. Martin explained to me it was a man’s style ruff. A woman’s ruff
has a wolverine ruff on the inside — against the face — and a wolf
ruff attached to the outside. My new ruff was wolf against the face, no
wolverine inner ruff. My wolf ruff was also scrap — not the long wolf
hair across the wolf’s back and shoulders. The long hairs draped against
the wearer’s back when down and stood high in the air when up.
Male/Female scrap ruff was lost on me. I was happy with my parka turned
parky and wore it proudly and fearless-ly in the falling snow, frigid
temperatures to come and a reckless adventure or two.

(to be continued) copyright Tamara Ann Burgh, all rights

Great Aunt Maggie in traditional parky

My father's mother with the traditional woman's ruff of wolverine and wolf. She also wears reindeer mukluks and (most likely) wolf mittens that go past the elbows and have some beading around the wrist.

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