The Glacial Lagoon
One of the day trips we did in Iceland took us to the Glacial Lagoon where the glaciers are melting into the sea. I’ve already written about the cognitive dissonance I felt about watching what is ultimately a sign of global warming which I had contributed to by getting on a plane.
The lagoon was stunning. We were lucky to be there with a blue sky and sunshine. The glaciers shed mini icebergs which were the purest blue, aquamarine, turquoise, white streaked with black, opalescent moon stones floating on a still lagoon with the glacier rising above them. I saw a seal head bob up between them and a few canoeists wove their wrapped-up-warm way through the floating gems.
Fragments of ice washed up to shore. Diamond clear ice, which we could reach and pick up, ice never held by a human hand before, thawing from aeons past.
Silent, cold, sacred.
And then a roar, a groan, a snore and before our eyes one of the icebergs split and rolled into the lagoon. They call it ‘calving’.
Then the wave came and I didn’t know how big the wave would be so I and others standing on the shore moved back unsure of the impact of the calving on the sea.
As it happened, no more than a big wave to make you squeal and jump over.
Which made me think. That this is it isn’t it? I had seen the sea levels rise in front of my eyes. I had just seen how the warming of the atmosphere can cause random, unpredictable changes in the environment. Scientists predict that with global warming continuing at the rate it is, in 150-200 year all the glaciers in Iceland will have melted.
Calving causes waves
Calving causes waves.
What a metaphor.
When we want to break away, walk our own path, change direction, cut off habits or people or places there are always waves. Everything is so connected that we can’t but change the world around us when we change.
On a macro scale, the industrial revolution and the move away from the land and increase in the use of fossil fuels started us on this life we have and the concomitant environmental issues we have caused. The ripple effect of my life style, my purchases, my flights, my car use create waves beyond my ken.
So too on a micro scale. The wife who gets fit and then finds her husband leaves her. The child who comes out as gay whose parent can’t deal with it. The friend goes tea-total and so isn’t part of the after-work drinking gang any more. No change we make, can be made in isolation. Whether we change our job, our partner, our income levels, our faith, our viewing habits or our diet; change causes waves which are unpredictable and out of our control.
Which is why we resist change, why we conform, why doing what we have always done seems like the easy option, the safe and stable option.
Except that we too are being acted upon by other changes in our environment. A colleague leaves and work changes. Our partner loses their job and home changes. A parent gets sick and so your obligations change. The kids leave home and your life is changes.
Calving causes waves whether it is our calving or that of the people and world around us. The only permanent thing really is change. Stability, constancy, permanence are illusions.
We need to learn to flow like water. We need to flow around and with the waves caused by others, to adapt to new situations, challenges, and the unexpected. We need to see the environmental crisis and find new ways of working together for the good of the planet; planting trees, reducing waste, developing new fuel sources, and designing global, environmentally sustainable lifestyles.
We need to have the courage to break out and break away from what no longer serves us. We need to find our own currents and seek out our own shores. We need to do the things we are scared to do and be the people we truly want to be. We need to think for ourselves and live according to our own inner truth and integrity.
All the time knowing that we will cause waves. Waves which we can’t control or predict which will impact the world and people around us. Waves are our very core, our very essence.