Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Time and Space

The last three days, we’ve been enjoying a very special Arctic cocktail that I named WBS : 1/3 Wind, 1/3 Blizzard and 1/3 Snow.

And so we keep on pulling endlessly our heavily loaded pulkas around Hornsund fjord trying to find our way to the South Cape.

The task is made even harder as we’re moving on deep and fresh snow.

Our arctic caravan, as if led by elephants, heavily and slowly keeps on moving forward.

But what on earth is giving us the energy to continue this useless quest in Spitsberg frozen desert?

Curiosity is certainly one of the main reasons that keeps us going : we are constantly curious to discover what is hidden behind the next mountain and looking forward to contemplate Arctic wonders.

At the same time, we each react with what science has taught us.

Kim, the geologist, can tell the history of moutains by observing the structures of rocks.
Mats, the biologist, spots the signs revealing presence of ptarmigans, the only bird to hibernate in the Arctic.
Hella is interested in zaturgis, the snow structures sculpted by wind.
Ulli follows closely the movement of glaciers and can predict crevasses.

As for myself, my favourite subject is the sea ice. Only a few centimetres of ice covering fjords and bays are required to open up new and infinite space and let us cross easily over.

But we have to be careful!

We have to switch fast from contemplation to concentration to navigate correctly in the Arctic universe and always have to be watchful to prevent from frost bites, meeting bears or falling in crevasses.

When I feel tired from walking and each step demands an extra effort, I try to concentrate on the present moment to extract myself from harsh reality, forget the snow constantly hitting my face, the wind that’s chilling me down to the bones, in order to fully enjoy the unique environment we’re going through.

“Infinity lies in every moment about to finish”.

Quoting Sylvain Tesson, as he crossed by foot the Oustiourt Desert in Kazakstan by plus 45° Celsius, I try to concentrate myself on the very second going by in order to forget space and time as a whole.

“Here and now, in this universe, eternal calm reigns for neither wind nor blizzard, deprived of reality, can take form”.


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