Kandalaskha: life beyond the Arctic Circle

What would it be like to live beyond the Arctic Circle?

Welcome to the town of Kandalaskha (Кандалакша) where 36,000 people live in an area that in many ways shares a sense of life perhaps in rural areas near you. A longtime friend from the Appalachians asked recently what it was like in Kandalaskha. Of course he’d discovered a lady of interest on the Internet there and was curious about life in her part of the world.

At first I was about to say that very few things represent the same between his little slice of the world and hers. But then after a moment to ponder, I began to realize how many things are much the same. Of course there is no seaport, no large body of water, no seals swimming up to people, and no large oil production in Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Tennessee. There is no passenger train service several times daily and Appalachian and Cumberland states are much warmer in winter.

But there are some striking similarities: In both regions there is coal, poverty, poorly maintained roads, the good character of most residents even in the face of chronic unemployment, the wide open outdoors, opportunities for camping-hunting-fishing, kids who take school seriously, parents who care about their children, families that go to church and pray together. folk who drink beer all Friday night, good drivers, bad drivers, movie theatres, love of sport, talented artists and musicians, and corrupt politicians.

Yes, life may very different in Kandalaskha when compared to a rural area near you. Yet if you look closely, I think you’ll see that in many ways life is pretty much the same.

That is a good thing.