Savssats

Savssats

Savssats ‘occur most often in fjords, where a band of sea ice too wide for marine mammals to swim under on a single breath cuts them off from the open sea.  As the fjord continues to freeze over, the animals are restricted to a smaller and smaller opening in the ice...
Polynya

Polynya

Polynya refers to a ‘stretch of open water surrounded by ice, especially in Arctic seas’ or ‘large areas of persistent open water that stay open all winter.’ Source: OED and Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p....
Fallen pieces of the moon

Fallen pieces of the moon

A haunting way to think of icebergs, moon-pieces fallen from the sky.  Especially when lit at night by their mother-ship’s beams. ‘Icebergs … fallen pieces of the moon.’   Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, 206 Photo credit: pixabay.com –...
Ice-crushed

Ice-crushed

In this description of a 250 ton ship being crushed by the unforgiving shift and grind of pack ice, you can hear the split of trunk-thick timbers, snapping and rending like matchsticks. ‘Like a grand piano caught in an industrial press’. Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic...
Light-poor desert

Light-poor desert

Elsewhere I have highlighted Lopez’s use of desert images in an Arctic context. Here it’s used to refer to a light-starved winter.  He mentions that lack of light is the limiting factor on the growth of many species, far more than temperature. ‘Of the roughly 3200...
Red-tinged snow

Red-tinged snow

No, not blood-stained, but a kind of lichen bringing the red of Snow White’s ruby mouth to the snow. Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p....
Sun-cured grasses

Sun-cured grasses

Somehow this evokes an image of a boundless prairie full of grazing bison. I learned from Lopez that the vast numbers of these and other animals the Europeans found when they arrived were in fact a diminished version of even greater numbers in a more distant past....
Eskimo word – nunatak

Eskimo word – nunatak

An originally Eskimo word now in general geological usage to describe ‘the ice-free spires of rock that pierce the Pleistocene stillness of the Greenland ice cap.’ Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p....
Frost-riven rubble

Frost-riven rubble

Rubble bespeaks a building site in a busy, messy, or war-torn city. The idea of its being splintered by frost transports you to an unfamiliar and barren context. Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p....

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