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Saturday, June 22, 2013

#Imera by John von Daler

                In Greenland they have many wonderful things. Take imera. I've heard the Inuits say many of their own words without having any idea what they were talking about. But imera reached out and grabbed me. It means maybe or perhaps. It could have been dreamed up by Edgar Allan Poe. In Spanish they say Quizás.

                Once we were playing some concerts in Qaqortaq, a beautiful, colorful little town at the southern end of Greenland. We had learned to love the place and its inhabitants. They had taken us out on a seal hunt and then clapped us through the evening in their stylish, wooden town hall.
                The day after this last concert we got up early. We wanted to get to the airport in plenty of time to get our instruments loaded onto the helicopter shuttle that was supposed to fly us to Nuuk for a concert that evening. As we were carrying our things back and forth to the waiting taxi, we saw a big Sikorsky helicopter take off, circle round and fly off north. Someone said, that must be the early connection.
                But when we arrived at the airport the lady at the counter looked sternly at us. Where have you been! I don't think I had been asked that since my mother asked it without getting an answer in 1963.
                We said, Been? We're a whole hour and a half early!
                She gave us another stern look. I get a bad conscience the way other people get telephone calls, sort of out of the blue and without really knowing where they come from, so I turned away and tried my best to get one last look at the great, icy landscape. But my colleagues showed her our tickets and reassured her that we were booked on the next flight.
                Now she really did begin to look like my mom.
                This is Greenland, guys! You are supposed to check your flight 5 or 6 hours before it's supposed to leave. The weather decides the time of departure, not the schedule! Now you are stuck here - unless of course you want to hire a private helicopter before a storm moves in. That costs about 1300 Euros.
                She shuffled her papers around while we conferred.
                One of us ventured to ask about when the storm was coming. Would it be in an hour?
                Imera, she said.
                Imera, she said. You are in Greenland and you are in the hands of Mother Nature. Imera means maaaybeee or maaaybeee not.
                Now in Denmark we are used to Mother Nature being more or less a loving old Aunt. We give her presents once or twice a year and she doesn't bother us too much. She wouldn't dare cancel a concert.
                But this Greenland was big, dangerous and full of surprises. And the Greenlanders were on speaking terms with their Mother. No bad consciences here. They just did what she asked.
                So we rented the little helicopter, loaded it with our things and flew alone to Nuuk over glaciers and musk oxen and scurrying dog sleds.
                Oh, I almost forgot. When we got into the little machine, we asked the pilot if we could beat the approaching storm.
                Imera, he said, Imera!
                We flew for a while without talking.


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