Saturday, March 7, 2009

Heraclitus said you never step in the same stream twice. The Antarctic version of that is that you never see the same iceberg twice. Because each iceberg is always changing, one sees a personal and unique iceberg that no one else has ever seen or will ever see. They are not always smooth. Many had textures, waffle patterns, pockmarks, and some looked pounded by Persian metalsmiths. A newly calved iceberg lay like a chunk of glass honeycomb, spongey from being underwater. (At some point it was other-side-up.) Another had beautiful blue ridges like muscles running along one side. So many icelets thickened the water, each one quivering with sparkle, that the sea looked like aluminum foil shaken in the sun. There were baths of ice with blue lotion, ice grottos, ice curved round the fleecy pelt of a lamb, razor backed ice, sixteen ice swans on an ice merry-go-round, ice pedestals, ice combs, ice dragons with wings spread, an ice garden where icebergs grew and died, ice tongs with blue ice between their claws, an ice egret stretching its wings and a long rippling neck out of the water. 

Diane Ackerman, "White Lanterns", The Moon by Whale Light (1991)