Wednesday, June 12, 1996

Somewhere over Greenland


We fly from the night, the earth's shadow is like a visor sequined with stars. Venus and sunset lingering in the west until west becomes north, and north becomes east, and the indigo crest of night escapes to the south. We are flying north towards the light, Venus on the penumbra, a watchful eye of God.
The land gives way to ice flows as we crossed the polar sea, ice packs like rotifers in a pond soup, the echo of indigo back from the sky, circles each ice flow like a wedding ring, the marriage of sky and sea. Floating islands. No anchor.

Crossing the pool, I realize I'm in the land of the midnight sun, the colors astound the eye: vermilion on maroon, and something darker than dried blood.

That place in the sky were light and dark intersect, particle or wave? A subdued rainbow, magenta and lavender hue painted on the mountains, a pale infinity without definition of time or form.

Polar ice is loosened from the matrix. Rosiated dawn, a blushing lace gown. I keep thinking of all the time zones we've crossed, our plane is an arrow dividing light and  time. 

Land again. Was that Baffin Island? We are in the land of eternal snow, crusted slabs of granite in a swirling sea of ice.

From the air, Tahoe was a skullcup of indigo wine held up to the thirsty sky, Mono Lake in a granite goblet. The earth falling away on all sides, as if by surprise.

I was just in Grand Rapids in September, I recognized it from the air, and though the approach was new, my eyes were hungry for the details of geography, dendritic patterns, the seasonal lakes alive again after decades of thirst.

We are in the air hurtling towards dawn at 33,000 feet, at 615 mph or is it kilometers per hour? Flying half the speed of the earth's rotation, the icy sea dissolves into clouds, and the repeated patterns delight the eye. 

I don't know where we are, but now the sea is free of ice flows, small icebergs, like fishing boats, or castles, are headed south for the summer, headed forward toward their own demise. 

June 12 - 13th 1996, midair over the polar circle headed towards Amsterdam.


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