Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Whispered Secrets

I walk out to Stacie’s tent about midnight, hunker down, and watch the sea. The moon, the only light bright enough to penetrate the layer of clouds, glows in the mist. Bits of berg rise and fall with the roll of the sea, and my own breath matches her calming rhythm.

The glacier rolls over in her sleep, and groans. The sound makes my eyes heavy, and I yawn. I climb inside the tent and wrap myself inside the down sleeping bag. I close my eyes and let my thoughts dig deep inside the earth. The elephant seals trumpet, and from inside the tent it sounds as though they are swimming in the water right below me. I take a deep breath to check for the telltale odor that gives them away, but all I smell is air cleansed by snow, wind, and salt.

My eyes open, but I can’t tell whether it is the boom of the glacier calving or the waxing light that wakes me. Snow pelts the tent, enticing me back into sleep. My eyes flutter, but I force them open, unzip the entrance to the tent, and peek outside in the hopes of seeing the glacier calve. Later I find out that the spray of ice precedes the noise by long enough that to hear the calving means I have missed seeing the glacier disgorge herself. How the earth withstands this great pressure is beyond my comprehension.

Her compassion, her endless tolerance of the burdens we place upon her will kill us one day. We will simply take from her until she has nothing left to give. She won't complain. We will wither at a breast we have sucked dry and wonder at her selfishness while we die.

Afraid I have already overslept, I check my watch—4:11 a.m. The sun has been up for at least an hour now, but I can close my eyes for a while longer. I bury my head in down and dream that the sun chases me across the sky. When I awake again, I find this time I have overslept. Still, I want to stay here forever, wrapped in down, listening, laughing, loving the snow and the surf, the seals and the glacier whispering secrets in my ear while I race the sun across the sky.

6 comments:

Paul Peterson said...

Kate, you never cease to amaze me. I am so enjoying your adventure. Thank you for opening my eyes to the realities of life in the ice, and the reality of dwindling life, there, and everywhere, with your always beautiful prose. Thank you.

VTbyker said...

As always, poignant and beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That was just awesome. You are such a good and potent writer. This is vivid and it adds an intellectual component that has impressed me. This is just gorgeous and it really feels like we all are there with you. Thank you so much!

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