The world according to Bren…
I continue one of the features of this blog in this post, is a description of my “happy places.’ Every creator, whether writer, visual artist or peformance artist, needs to recharge his/her batteries. Creative energy is not infinite. It is not fair for us to expect to be able to continue creating/writing/sculpting/etc. without inspiration.
Regularly, I will describe here where some of my existing “happy places” are, hopefully showing pictures I’ve taken. I’ll try to describe what it is I get from that place and maybe share some unique perspective on it.
Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska (near Seward).
After completing an exhilarating and whirlwind coastal exploration of Alaska (read: Cruise), we landed in Seward one temperate early August. Summertime temperatures had reached record highs that year, in the high 70s (as a note, a week earlier, Seattle hit its all-time highest temperature and first time in the triple digits. It was not a fun visit in the land of no air-conditioning!)
Exit Glacier sits the edge of the Harding Ice Field, first discovered in 1922 when Seward residents found it approachable from town. At one time impenetrable (it was finally crossed in the 1960s), Harding Ice Field proved a massive and immovable expansion of ice from which a massive mountain range pokes its summits like scattered islands.
From the edges of the Harding Ice Field flow over 18 glaciers, including Exit Glacier.
A small portion of the massive Harding Ice Field (over 1,000 square miles of frozen inland sea), the Exit Glacier, at its edge is an unstoppable river with the power to cut massive valleys and flatten trees in its wake.
The Exit Glacier is known for its approachability. On a turn-off from the main road that leads from Seward to Anchorage, you can practically drive to less than a mile of its edge.
There is a short and easy trail from the parking lot to the glacier, during which you cross a rushing river that busily carries off the melting edge. If that is not evidence enough of the warming of global temperatures, there are wooden signs as you ascend, helpfully marking out the edge of the glacier in years past, as far back as 1899. These evidence that the warming of the area is not an entirely new thing.
Now that you know a little bit about the place, I’d like to share why and how it resonated with me. As I climbed the trail to the moraine of the glacier, a cool wind assailed my senses, bringing with it the smell of ice and the cool, wet feeling resting on my cheeks. And with it a calm peace.
When I reached the glacier’s edge, I was struck with the moonscape-like scenery, full evidence of a glacier’s power and devastation of all in its path. New life had begun to spring out from parts that the glacier had not touched in decades, but anything newer than that was barren rock and dirt. And the edge of the glacier itself, when I closed my eyes, sounded like standing beside a waterfall.
I felt that “click” of connection standing there, listening, feeling, smelling, letting the glacier reach nearly every sense: the blue ice, the relentless trickling water, the cool, wet breeze, the crunch of dirt below my feet, the smell of ice and minerals. I imagined myself standing out on the glacier under a full golden moon, watching the glistening light across its surface. I felt small and insignificant in the wake of such natural power.
It was a humbling experience. One I’ll keep with me for a long time.
For more amazing pictures of the Exit Glacier and Harding Ice Field, go here.
Stay tuned to this blog for more of my happy places–which range from Europe to the West Coast of the United States, to Alaska, to the Northwest.