This embodied experience of being high up in the Arctic circle matters deeply. Questions like “How can this place be, and how can I fathom being emplaced here?” ran like a current through the ship. “How does my body fit?,” we asked. Subjectivity balked at the otherworldliness: The immense time of the earth, the epoch-long wildness of it, tugged at us. No theory can, or should, erase that.
And yet, while were pulled apart by a “sense of belonging to a geohumanity,” the specter of the human—climate change—hovered around us: we knew the Arctic was disappearing, we found plastic on the beaches, saw glaciers retreating, heard dying ice streaming into the ocean. But even that knowledge—the knowledge of the Anthropocene—couldn’t stop enchantment. We wove a fourth wall around ourselves, and willed that wilderness to be. Because it was wild. And stunning. And remote. And otherworldly. All of that was true, even as we heard “it’s melting, it’s melting, it’s melting because of us” drumming in our ears.
Photo Credit: Caroline Landau