GLACIAL LONGINGS by Elizabeth Rush
in Emergence Magazine
Aboard the first shipbound expedition to the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, writer Elizabeth Rush puts her ear to this massive body of ice to listen for the messages embedded in its shifts and shatterings. But can something so large, so vast, so ancient, ever really be witnessed up close?
IN JANUARY OF 2019, fifty-seven people gather in the low-slung port town of Punta Arenas, Chile. We are sedimentologists and ship captains, radio reporters and electricians, marine mammal specialists and submarine technicians; the members of the first shipbound expedition to Thwaites Glacier. Everything we do on our last night on solid earth anticipates what we will soon be without. Some call the children they are leaving behind. Some call credit card companies to set up automatic payments. And some head to the Colonial for a couple of drinks. One person runs along Route 9 to stretch her legs, while another runs to the market to purchase deodorant and a couple empanadas. I go to the steam room just above the hotel’s casino. Then I go to the bar around the corner for my last pint, where I eye every person who enters, wondering if we will sail to Antarctica together. FOR MORE
Photo credit: Jonny-Glos in Unsplash