Sunday, November 18, 2007

Unquiet World

Scientists get their questions from observing, as do artists.

I walk along the shore, cliffs laced with ice, crackling when the sun touches them. I go to think about art, about describing what I see and hear and smell, but mostly what I feel. The glacier moving sounds like gunshots or like old bones creaking.

Clean air smells like nothing, but if an elephant seal comes in range, the air fills with its musk. The sea moves, the sky, the wind, the waves. Clouds swoop down like a skua snatching an egg from a penguin nest. Wind stirs whitecaps on the bay, but most of the movement is inside the glacier and invisible. On my side of the harbor, icicles cover the rocky cliffs and break under the weight of the sun peeking through the clouds. Skittering through a maze of frozen lace, they chime. The glacier snaps and groans. And while I smile at the sight of the sun, the glacier weeps. Growlers hiss and pop, bits of ice bump each other or the rocks.

On the way back, the glacier calves, spewing bits of ice and powder into the bay. The water surges, rocking the growlers at the base of the ice cliffs. A few minutes later the waves hit the opposite shore. All this noise and yet I am alone.


Mary Grubbs said...


Marc Willson said...

Thank You Kate for describing such a Wonderful World of sound and sights. Enjoyed the pictures on Molly Finn site. Wonderful documentary, and bluetiful Antartic skies! I checked and Moon is in Aquarius (West) and the Southern Cross is rising for you at this time. This signifies good luck to you all! Say "Hi" to Molly for me!(Manitou 61°F
Scattered clouds. Refreshingly cool, Sunset at 16:46.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, you are talented! I really like seeing stuff that you wrote, such as the lace made of ice. This is just gorgeous.
I'm happy that you're considering the five senses and your emotions as topics. You really are hitting on all cylinders. Thank you so much. Every word is precious.

Anonymous said...

I spent a few quiet minutes at home yesterday, paging through all the photos you posted on the Molly Finn site.

The vastness of it is hard to absorb, and I'm sure the photos only hint at what it's really like. The superlatives all feel a bit trite, but it's magnificent. It also looks very isolated. Does it feel strange to know that there are not thousands and thousands of people nearby? That you are so nearly alone there, as least from a human perspective?

And more practically - how did you cope with the plunge into 32 degree water? At least you had on a wetsuit - how did the others jump in in bathing suits? Life back here is not nearly as challenging.

Lights are starting to go up for Xmas, people are starting to leave for Thanksgiving break. Are you staying in touch with the calendar, do you feel the time passing there?

Really looking forward to more updates...
Michelle L

VTbyker said...

You are a true artist, Katie. Those of us stranded in the "real" world are lucky to see this amazing world through your magical eyes...