Icelife in Iceland

Modern life vanishes. Two and half hours flying north from London, and the city seems a million miles away. All that ‘stuff’, it’s gone. I’m spending a week living in the land of ice, literally…. Iceland.

Mighty glacier, all powerful

Mighty glacier, all powerful

Take a closer look to spot the photographer front right on the spit of land – that’s how awesomely massive this landscape view is – there are two of them:

Dwarfed

Dwarfed

Ice, glaciers. mountains, rocks, everything is solid & permanent. Time moves at a different pace – glacially you might say… The slowness of time is echoed by sound – at first it seems there isn’t any. But as ears tune in to the tempo, you hear the cracks of the shifting ice. There may be very little sign of human or animal life, but the ice itself is alive. It’s moving, shifting, living and dying.

Crevasse - highly photogenic, highly dangerous

Crevasse – highly photogenic, highly dangerous

Ice life starts high up in the mountains. The snow falls again and again, compacts and becomes ice. The weight is so heavy the air is forced out and it turns blue. The mighty glacier moves imperceptibly, sometimes is covered in ash, dirt, rocks. Changes colour. Now the ice is brown, red. Crevasses open up. This is not a place for a Sunday afternoon stroll. Fall in, you’re gone.

Boulder trapped in the black ice

Boulder trapped in the black ice

The ice is imperious. Nothing can stand in its way. Rocks! Pah! Picked up to be dumped miles away on the plain. At the face of glacier are ice caves. The ice here is striated and contorted, run through with absorbed dirt. It has become multicoloured.

The cave's maw

The cave’s maw

Our guide allows us in. And here, in this most awesome of caves, we see the first signs of ice vulnerability. This cave is not permanent. It will not last the year. The stream hints at the ice’s fate.

That stream began to trickle whilst we stood there...

That stream began to trickle whilst we stood there…

The life of ice is speeding up. Suddenly, imperceptible movement accelerates. Ice carves into the glacial lagoons.

Icebergs in the lake

Icebergs in the lake

Ice transforms from awesome majesty into vulnerable beauty. The colours are more transparent and ephemeral.

The glacier is still defiant here

The glacier is still defiant here

But it is disintegrating

But it is disintegrating

The more it dies, the more beautiful it becomes

The more it dies, the more beautiful it becomes

Ice being consumed by snow

Ice being consumed by snow

Pushed out of the lagoon into the ocean, the ice is now pitilessly attacked by the Atlantic waves. Time is short. Once it swept all before it, now it is small and vulnerable, tossed up on the beach, broken and discarded.

Ice washed ashore

Ice washed ashore

How ironic that ice is at its most beautiful now. It becomes exquisite, jewel-like, Swarowski-esque crystals. One last glisten and sparkle on a black beach before it dies and vanishes for good.

Transient jewelry

Transient jewelry

And then death

And then death

But of course, the ice hasn’t died, it has simply mutated. In the fullness of time it will return as snow, and the cycle will begin again, refreshed.

ice to water to ....

ice to water to ….


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