On My Island
Sometimes, standing on top of the quartzite ridge, even with the arctic lichens and stunted spruce all around, I can easily imagine that I am at the pinnacle of a tall, narrow island, a few hundred metres across and a couple of kilometers long – because that is where I am in my time machine. Facing north, where I can see the icy waters of Hudson Bay, it is easy to imagine a warm sea, although it is often harder to picture a hot equatorial sun directly overhead. Behind me to the south, the low landscape of railway, muskeg, estuary, and boreal forest stretching to the horizon is a continuation of that broad sea.
The quartzite ridges extending past the giant grain elevator on my left, and on my right all the way to the old rocket range far past the airport, are a sinuous archipelago of small islands like my own, the only land standing above the sea surface for hundreds of kilometres in any direction.
Churchill may be a unique, lonely place today, but on my Ordovician island it is far lonelier – for it is silent except for the waves lapping on the shore. The silence is occasionally disturbed by tropical thunder, and rarely by giant hurricanes driving monstrous waves and huge boulders against the shore. There are no gull cries, but the smells may not be all that different – no doubt there is rotting seaweed on the Ordovician shores, too.
And what about tastes? There are no fish to catch in the Churchill area, no land animals on the shore, but giant trilobite probably tastes a lot like lobster. Every time machine should be stocked with nutcrackers, bibs, and a supply of melted butter.