May 31, 2008

Sound Sketch -- Multisensory Travel to a Glacier

Glacier Bay Ice-is-Melting

The diesel motor rumbles vibrating the ship until we anchor. Even so, this expansive wildness is never silent.

At night we drop anchor. No silence here either. We are at the confluence of the three chutes of the 65 mile long "Y" that is Glacier Bay. The long narrow spaces surrounding us pulse with the sound of living glacier.

The sound signature of glacial motion comes with startling clarity and frequency to where we roll on the sea swells. Sound travels to us down three geologic auditory canals. Sounds are guided down every unobstructed valley and inlet to this place. They roll along the water's surface and sheer rock mountain corridors.

Night falls. We listen to the conversations of mountains from this centerpoint of a world disappearing.

Appropriate, perhaps, that glaciers retreating at a lightning pace -- the fastest glacial retreat in the world -- would produce the sound of thunder. "Sumdum" in Tlingit.

Posted by rollingrains at May 31, 2008 03:36 AM