Ice fascinates me, as does the lure of the north…the high north, basically Iceland and above! I have been reminiscing this evening about my trips to Spitsbergen in 2011 and 2012. It is a long time ago, but I can still feel the cold on my face, the wind in my hair and the beautiful, crisp fresh air.
I had dreamed about visiting Spitsbergen and the landscapes did not disappoint, they were beyond anything I have ever seen or could have imagined. Mountains, glaciers, ice flows, wildlife, flowers it was all so stunningly unspoilt.
As well as visiting many different glaciers and walking along beaches and visiting hunters cabins we visited settlements such as Pyramiden and Barentsburg which are former Soviet mining towns, Ny Alesund which is full of research stations from around the world and the ‘capital’ Longyearbyen. These settlements were so different and it was fascinating to get an insight into these different regions which have vastly different purposes.
As I stood in these landscape I thought about the will and survival of the animals and people to allow them to proposer here. Animals are full of courage and survive instincts while humans also full of courage are geared more towards hope than survival.
Talking to the people who live in these regions about the long dark winters is when you hear the stories of what is seemingly survival, but when you look further into it what they are really talking and feeling is hope. Hope for the arrival of the first light, hope that the snow ploughs work, hope the supplies can arrive and don’t run out. The hope of the families that are with them.
Hope is a beautiful thing and something we tend to value all to little in this world of materialistic elements. In these places you are stripped of everything, it doesn’t matter which iPhone you have, or how big your car is…it is about the hope that the sun will soon rise up above the horizon again.