As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, researching a book is a state of bliss. Jon Gertner’s The Ice at the End of the World is no exception, detailing a history of European exploration on Greenland’s ice sheet over the past couple of hundred years.
The details of various expeditions including Fridtjof Nansen’s intial crossing in 1888 and Knud Rasmussen’s establishment of Thule at the northern-most tip are fascinating as the description of scientists Georgi and Lowe spending an entire winter dug into the middle of the ice sheet.
However most interesting to me personally is the description of the Jakobshavn Glacier calving several icebergs in two days, cutting five miles from the glacier’s front, in 2015.
He had been born and brought up entirely within what had once been known as the Arctic Circle – now a sub-tropical zone with an annual mean temperature of 85 degrees – and had come southward only on joining on of the ecological surveys in his early 30’s.The vast swamps and jungles had been a fabulous laboratory, the submerged cities little more than elaborate pedestals. Apart from a few older men such as Bodkin, there was no one who remembered living in them -and even during Bodkin’s childhood, the cities had been beleaguered citadels hemmed in by enormous dykes and disintegrated by panic and despair, reluctant Venices to their marriage with the sea.
Their charm and beauty lay precisely in their emptiness, in the orange junction of two extremes of nature, like a discarded crown overgrown by wild orchids.
You only have five days before the Mayan Day of Doom, and it’s time to get angry. The world is fraught with injustice, much of it self-imposed. What is wrong with us?! It is exhausting to consider. It’s so stupid! What have we done!? Arghh. You may also need try to bargain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never eat Lucky Charms again if this world won’t end”) even if you know that none of it will work. It’s a process, one step at a time. There is a lot of angry music that might help get you in the mood, including Nine Inch Nail’s The Fragile and Rage Against the Machine’s The Battle for Los Angeles, but Sinead O’Connor’s The Lion and the Cobra captures this deep-seeded emotion most profoundly. You’re still spitting fire/ Makes no difference what you say/ You’re still a liar!There are far too many angry people-with-guns movies, and I am sick of those. Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, Wrath of God is a much better tonic. Aguirre is as angry as it gets, none other than the self-proclaimed wrath of god. You should also read Dee Brown’s Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, a chronicle of the systematic destruction of the Native Indians in the western United States. It underlines the errors of our ways with depressing clarity. After that, physical labor will do you good. Burn your anger off. And if it’s still boiling, get a punching bag and have at it.
Whether it’s to come by holocaust, super-storm, bio-plague or sheer boredom, Mr. Mayan has predicted that our world is to end in exactly one week: December 21, 2012.While the prediction is dubious at best, the exercise of what you might do if this actually were the case, is interesting. You’ve got a week. Now what? Starting today – and using the seven stages of grief – I offer my Survival Guide to the End of the World.
Today is easy. It’s all about SHOCK & DENIAL.You don’t have to do anything really.You’re numb and can deny the reality of this in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks…but you only have the day. Anyway, you just need to deny what’s coming up. Nothing more.
First of all, I recommend some music. A long and involved listening to the Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks Volume 16, Filmore 11/8/69 is ideal. No need to think. Just relax your mind and go with it. After this, you might consider watching the film, Superbad (Greg Mottola). It’s so excellent because it’s so stupid, one of the most genius dumb-ass films ever made. And, if you are able focus yourself for any time, try and read Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. Everyone’s in denial throughout the story; nothing is as it should be. And that’s good, right? And finally, you should do something different. Maybe juggle or kayak. Have your fortune read– Oh, maybe not that. I’m going to see a new band: Grizzly Bear. And maybe I’ll take a pedi-cab after that. Arggh! (That’s a Grizzly roar.)