Friday, April 5, 2013


By Jack London:

"Nature has many tricks wherewith she convinces man of his finity--the ceaseless flow of the tides, the fury of the storm, the shock of the earthquake, the long roll of heaven's artillery--but the most tremendous, the most stupefying of all, is the passive phase of the White Silence. All movement ceases, the sky clears, the heavens are as brass; the slightest whisper seems sacrilege, and man timid, affrighted at the sound of his own voice. Sole speck of life journeying across the ghostly wastes of a dead world, he trembles at his audacity, realizes that his is a maggot's life, nothing more. Strange thoughts arise unsummoned, and the mystery of all things strives for utterance."

Jack London, 'The White Silence'

This sounds awfully familiar, in particular regarding my experiences on Iceland's Vatnajokull ice cap, Alaska's Baird Glacier, Canada's Columbia Icefield and the expansive tundra of Alaska's North Slope, all of which I have visited on foot, alone, in winter, some more than once. Jack London puts words, as crude as they are, to my own experiences.

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