It’s what comes to mind when one thinks of the Arctic. But ice is not a simple subject; it forms in many ways and takes many forms, from delicate and beautiful to massive and frightening.
It can be a place to live, if you’re a polar bear.
The poetry of ice and water can work its magic as you sit on the shore and contemplate the endless lonely reaches of the North.
Arctic rivers feature a type of ice that I have never seen in the south. Called “aufeis,” a German word meaning “ice on top,” it forms in winter when water rises from below and spreads on top of existing ice, creating a sort of layer cake that can be several metres high. During summer breakup, the layers have a haunting beauty.
Aufeis can be terrifying if you have to find a path through towering walls on a fast current that blocks retreat if you have picked the wrong channel.
Or it can just be a lot of fun.