I spent much of July writing in a room overlooking Disko Bay, in Ilulissat, Greenland. There was an iceberg that looked a little like a church parked just fifty feet off my deck. It wasn’t like the other icebergs, breaking and rolling and drifting past, but a magical constant, no doubt beached out.
It sat as I wrote, reflecting back, through the morning and afternoon light and into the reddish glow of the night. And there again the next day, stoic. And then it wasn’t. It had collapsed, been divided, exposing its underbelly, as it turned itself inside out and drifted away back to the depths, leaving me with an emptiness of blue.
I’m not a fan of graffiti because it makes things look generally worse.
However, the one exception to this aesthetic is the public bathroom.
Hank’s Saloon, Brooklyn
While many scrawls are crude and offensive,they seem to enhance the environment.
Clinton, New Jersey
And they give you something to read.
The Aquarium, Fargo, ND
80% of Greenland is covered by snow and ice. It is a mass so big that, if it were to melt, the oceans worldwide would rise seven meters, drowning many coastlines, while Greenland would actually rise. Ilulissat is on the west coast where many glaciers and ice flows meet the ocean, including the Ilulissat Ice Fjord and Eqi Glacier, both of which are major tourist attractions due to the melting ice. The Ilulissat Ice Fjord is densely packed with icebergs, moving gradually out to sea at a rate of 19 meters per day, producing 35 cubic kilometers of ice every year. It takes almost three hours to pass through the maze of ice by boat – a distance of 5 kilometers. The Eqi Glacier, which is retreating a rate of 15 meters per year, meets the ocean directly, with massive sheets and chunks of ice dramatically calving into the ocean several times every hour. It is a remarkable and sobering event to witness, the sound of which is reminiscent of approaching thunder or a massive door being slammed shut in an empty room.
I was in the cold and bright of the far north over the past two weeks; instead of computer and ipod, I was consumed by constant daylight and the sound of ice collapsing into the sea.
Afternoon in Ilulissat, Greenland
It took time to accept that my electronic feed was gone and there was nothing else but the cold world all around.
Night in Ilulissat, Greenland