I had never seen a glacier until I landed a job as a deckhand on a boat in Alaska. Seeing a glacier was one of the pieces of that majestic wilderness that I was most excited about. Most people have seen pictures of glaciers, which are impressive. But what I did not know is that the sound is even more impressive than the visual of blue ice reaching hundreds of feet into the air and stretching back as far as the eye can see.
Glaciers are alive. Moving, shifting and constantly changing. The sound they make is similar to a gunshot or thunder rumbling. It pierces the sky and echoes off the surrounding mountains. But the sound does not signify something happening, it lets onlookers know that something just happened. That sounds are made when the falling ice hits the water. Then, we would scan the face of the glacier looking for the next layer that the glacier will shed.
There was one time, that from more than a mile off of the face, I saw layer upon layer of ice fall into the water. From my vantage point it appeared that the whole left side of the glacier’s face was crumbling. Words cannot properly express what seeing that force of nature looks like. The ice came crashing down and then thunder reverberated and then your boat is rocked by two foot swells that were caused by the ice displacing water once it hit the ocean. We sat in silence in our sixteen foot skiff taking in the powerful forces of nature in front of us.
Glaciers remind us to pay attention to the signs around us. Sometimes we are only notified of something once it has passed. But, with glaciers, as with life if you keep looking something may just happen again. Keep your eyes open for signs from the universe. The falling ice is both a sight to behold and an experience to hear. Listening to the sounds of nature, I have found, allow me to experience more that just what my eyes can see. Hearing the glaciers reinforced the awe-inspiring power of nature.