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WORDS CHANGE US: ARCTIC DREAMS by Barry Lopez

Uncategorized Jan 23, 2021

The only book I took to Greenland in 1996 was Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams. One day, during a three-week hiatus in a tiny coastal village, I took off on foot to see the Icecap. I hiked up a broad, grassy valley past lichen-covered stone ruins until it dead-ended at a rock outcropping. I followed a slot in the rock formed by a snake-like glacier that was running out of steam on its march to the sea. I didn't know what to expect. Or how to feel. I was alone, excited, and anxious about falling into a crevasse since I knew next to nothing about traveling safely on an icecap. And then...there it was, all-consuming, an infinite sea of blue ice pocked with crevasses, lakes, and rivers. Spotting a tussock, I sat down and pulled Arctic Dreams from my pack. I spent the next four hours, staring in awe at the strange world where I'd arrived. An icy sun hung low above. An arctic hare lounged in the grass nearby.

I never cracked open the book. How could I read?

I finished Arctic Dreams on the plane ride home to Santa Fe. It was marvelous. RIP Barry Lopez