You know that Apple Mac screen saver with the cosmic tracer thing swirling around? About 10 of us were stood on deck late night and looked up at the same time that it escaped out of someone’s laptop, gained gargantuan proportions and launched itself out of the sky above our heads in neon green; spinning, speeding, an incredible Catherine Wheel firework that made us all scream. I stayed out there for an hour and a half in minus ten, making myself laugh as my frozen face was about 5 seconds behind any words I tried to say. The best light show in the world.
Stayed up in the bar pretending we didn’t have to leave at 5am, gabbing away to my rad new sister Vanessa Carlton and dancing to Bill Withers.
Grabbed a couple of hours sleep and woke up to my last bowl of porridge and rumours that Graham Treehugger was going to enjoy a morning dip in the sea/liquid nitrogen. We all ran out reminiscent of a fight at school, and there he was in his swimmers, barefoot and perched on the railings 15 feet above the water. We thought he was going to die. He didn’t die, he splashed around delighted, whooped, climbed up to the 4th level at 30 feet and jumped in again. The thermometer was reading -15 outside.
Now, I remember going in the ladies pond on Hampstead Heath one scorching weekend in late April and was instantly paralysed and unable to remember my name. Who was this man?! Impressive.
My lasting memory was the tide line back on land. In the virgin dawn light I saw that the only flotsam left by the sea on the beach was a thin line of ice; pure white, in the shape of a wave.
Ryuichi had told us when he played his recording of an underground glacial stream that it was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. The sound of water that was frozen solid before human beings even existed, heard for the first time, unspoilt, no particles of plastic. Baby water. Old as the earth.
As we waited to board our plane, a Greenlandic choir sat at a table in the golden morning sun, absent-mindedly eating sandwiches and practising one of the same songs we had heard at the children’s home.
Beautiful, mournful, comforting, ancient, innocent.
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