As usual, I am late with the posting of this blog. This time, however, I cannot blame being pinned down by gales or chocked by volcanic eruption.
Nor can I plead the universal and therefore forgivable fault of procrastination. I have intentionally avoided writing this because putting the events of the past two weeks into words makes them indelible and irreversible. I am not yet ready for that harsh reality.
Our beloved friend, crewmember, and fellow adventurer, Halifax of The North, is dead. I have been writing for many years, but that last sentence was the hardest I have ever written, and our boat and our lives will ring hollow for a long time to come.
I would not blame someone for now saying, "It's only a cat. Get a life!"
But the point is I have a life-- rich and rewarding. And I have that life in no small part because of that spirited little beast. I once spent five months alone in the Arctic wilderness. Up there it gets dark and it stays dark for a very long time. Mature male polar bears do not hibernate. They roam the lonely landscape searching for any hint of life and vulnerability.
Before Halifax and I would forage out for freshwater ice or to clear the hatches of drifted snow, she would sit on the top companionway step for up to a half hour just listening. She would turn her little head steadily like a radar interpreting signals too subtle for my muted human senses. If she returned to the bottom of the sleeping bag, then so would I. The next day I would find signs of the bear's ambush site next to the boat.