Greenland Reading: Gretel Ehrlich’s “This Cold Heaven”

Gretel Ehrlich’s This Cold Heaven provides a first-person account of life in the cold and dark of Greenland. Greenland Reading: Gretel Ehrlich's "This Cold Heaven" She recounts the Early 20-Century explorations of Arctic ethnographer Knud Rasmussen as well as the painter Rockwell Kent’s year-long sojourn there in the 1930s, but most interesting of all are the details of her own travels, including her journey with hunters in the far north:

Ahead, the ice foot narrowed like a waist, then widened again. Snow turned to sun; we slid from winter into summer. Greenland Reading: Gretel Ehrlich's "This Cold Heaven" A glittering lagoon of open water came into view, packed with seabirds, ice gulls, and eider ducks. We stopped an gaped. The pond was a living sapphire and the birds navigated through blue glint, bumping from one beveled iridescence to another. What were we seeing? (180)

Ehrlich does have a tendency to repeat herself and romanticize the harsh elements, but all is forgiven for her moments of insight and enduring adventurous spirit.