Photo by Alex Cornell

blue-ice-6I finished reading an excellent novel yesterday afternoon.  Its final pages are a letter written by the book’s title character to her daughter.  Among the many things she touches on in the letter are her first impressions of the scenery of Antarctica:

“Ice.  It’s trippy, symphonies frozen, the unconscious come to life, and smacking of color: blue….I saw hundreds of [icebergs], cathedrals of ice, rubbed like salt licks; shipwrecks, polished from wear like marble steps at the Vatican; Lincoln Centers capsized and pockmarked; airplane hangars carved by Louise Nevelson; thirty-story buildings, impossibly arched like out of a world’s fair; white, yes, but blue, too, every blue on the color wheel, deep like a navy blazer, incandescent like a neon sign, royal like a Frenchman’s shirt, powder like Peter Rabbit’s cloth coat, these icy monsters roaming the forbidding black.

There was something unspeakably noble about their age, their scale, their lack of consciousness, their right to exist.  Every single iceberg filled me with feelings of sadness and wonder.”

Gorgeous, evocative writing, which sent me off in search of pictures to put with the words.

Pressure ridges on the sea ice near Scott Base.
Photo by Michael Studinger
Photo by Alex Bernasconi


Photo by Shelley Smart


Photo by Nicholas Golledge


And the book?  Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple.  Highly recommended.  Nice reviews here and here.

Sobering trivia tidbit: The WHO attributes 150,000 deaths a year to the effects of global warming, including extreme weather, drought, heat waves, decreased food production, and the increased spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria.  (I found a number of the above photos in various news reports/articles about the effects of climate change on polar ice).


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