We watched the troll on the hill throughout dinner and the sunset. Now, we stand outside the tents at one in the morning, looking East to where someone’s torch or headlamp is flashing across the hills and setting the fog ablaze. It’s coming towards us now. Then it is gone, fallen in to a cleft. “So many stars,” says Jannice, looking up.
Looking down, I admire all five of our tents hiding in the tall grass of the beach-front hollow, sheltered from the wind by a ridge of stones and storm thrown logs. The camp light in my tent makes it glow, a beacon-green tortoise hunkering in the tall grass. If I turn it off, we will be invisible.
Josh and Suzi have gone to intercept the wanderer with the light. “Spirits,” Suzi said, I think, as she left with her headlamp and broom handle. Josh, also with a headlamp, carried a driftwood cudgel we will think will be useful tomorrow, walking under an eagle’s nest to the North. Jannice says, whoever is out there in the dark called Suzi’s name just once. Now they don’t appear close enough to hear us shout back.
—Thanks to National Geographic; University of Stirling; Arctic Institute of North America; Columbia University; National Science Foundation; UA Museum of the North Herbarium (Unalaska, 2016)