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Chapter 1. Tundra
The first feeble rays of sunlight were just starting to appear on the horizon. Papa raised himself slowly and stood in the center of what was left of our nest. He stretched his powerful wings and ruffled his majestic, white feathers. Settling himself back down into a seated position, we all drew in closer to the warmth of his body. The dreaded time was approaching, but it had not yet arrived. For a few precious moments, we all still had each other.
When we were young hatchlings, Mama would tell us stories while Papa was away from the tundra nest, hunting for lemmings. She explained to us that we were in the middle of the Time of Lasting Light, a time when the Arctic never gets truly dark. But she also told us about the Great Cold Darkness which overtakes the land every year. Snow would cover the ground in a thick blanket. The only sound would be the howling wind, and there would be only the dimmest of light, even at midday. How strange it seemed! So impossible, so distant. As we listened to her stories, the earth around us was warm, and blooming flowers dotted the tundra with color. We could not imagine a world other than the one that surrounded us, filled with sunlight, sounds and smells. It was a very happy time.