Light and Dark
From those times, when everybody
lived promiscuously, when sometimes they were
people and other times animals, and there was
no difference, a talk between a fox and a hare
has been remembered:
"Taaq, taaq, taaq! 'Darkness,
darkness, darkness!'" said the fox. It liked
the dark when it was going out to steal from
the caches of the humans.
"Ulluq, ulluq, ulluq! 'Day,
day, day!'" said the hare. It wanted the
light of day so that it could find a place to
And suddenly it became as the
hare wished it to be; its words were the most
powerful. Day came and replaced night, and when
night had gone day came again. And light and
dark took turns with each other.
The habitat of the Arctic hare (Lepus
arcticus) is generally
restricted to treeless areas, north of the treeline in the
tundra of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, and in the
treeless barrens in the mountains of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hares survive best in areas without deep snow cover. Vegetation
in the form of willows, shrubs, flowering plants and grasses
is a requirement. Hares seem to prefer drier areas, avoiding
wet meadows on the tundra.
The climate of the northern islands is the most severe of
that encountered by Arctic hares.
- In the summer of the Far North, June, July and August
are characterized by snow-free ground, growth and flowering
of plants, the presence of breeding birds, 24 hours
of sunlight and average temperatures of 0°C to 5°C
(32°F to 41°F).
- September and
October bring the autumnal end of 24 hours of sunlight;
the first snow cover; freeze-up of ponds, lakes and the
Arctic ocean; and temperatures of -30°C to 0°C
(-22°F to 32°F).
- The sun sets in early November and
remains below the horizon for 3 months.
- Wintry December-to-March
features more snow, lots of wind, and temperatures of -40°C
to -30°C (-40°F to -22°F). The sun rises again
in early February, and the number of hours it is above
the horizon increases steadily through March.
- April sees the
spring start of 24 hours of sunlight, but temperatures
remain low, averaging -25°C (-13°F).
In May the temperature rises above freezing, and snowmelt
In the more southerly parts of the Arctic hare's range,
the winters are shorter but still cold, and the hours of
summer daylight and winter darkness decrease with descending
latitude. In all areas the ground is snow-covered for part
of the year.