14 March 2015


Photograph fail to convey the grandeur of icebergs. They also fail to convey how mutable they are. An iceberg that looks like a mesa in the distance as you approach transforms into something architectural, with melt-carved towers and wind-sculpted outcroppings suggestive of angels — as European explorers noted — or birds. Explorers, in their journals, grasping for comparisons with which to familiarise the strange, likens icebergs to cathedrals as well as angels. But icebergs lack the symmetries and patterns of a church. They exhibit form, but organic form, form sculpted by the subtle force of the coincident, form very on the chaotic. Every change in angle is a revelation. The light drapes differently. The shapes shift. The colours turn from white to turquoise to blue. In some there were grottos or canyons or isthmuses terminating in a peak that seemed about to great off. From the big one, cataracts of meltwater rushed into the sea. It occurred to me, admiring those waterfalls, that the before my eyes past was dissolving into the present.
— from Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn (2011)

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