Memoirs of a Glacier

I learned a lot about glaciers and how life in Iceland is very directly shaped and influenced on a regular basis by the earth and weather patterns that surround people there. And I will be the first to say that I do not remember everything I heard or saw on this trip, but some elements do stand out from our day trip to [actual name of national park] and the Ice Caves tour.

Glaciers are big. I mean really, really big. So much so that you cannot fathom the size of it as you stand at the edge of one it becomes more awe inspiring to know that this huge “sheet” of ice holds within it not just frozen water, but parts of mountains, trees, likely animal remains, volcanish ash (maybe exclusive to Icelandic glaciers), and other parts of the earth that couldn’t get out of its way.

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Glaciers are affecting the world around it while it appears to sit there like a big, frozen glacier-shaped log.  As they move and/or melt, what remains after are what many area of the world now live on. They have flattened out vast spaces in their melted wake. But they also hold down the earth under it, even pulling nearby hills and small mountains physically down with its incredible weight. (Don’t try finding a scale. Glaciers don’t like to talk about their weight.) So as it melts and loses even small fractions of its mass, Iceland itself is actually rising from the relief of the cold burden at a rate of up to 1.5cm/year. Insane!

Glaciers affect weather patterns around the world acting as a stingy bank who would prefer not to let us withdraw from its deposits. And yet here we are marketing glacier water as a great drinking source. I suddenly feel just the smallest tinge to yell “save the glaciers, save the world.”

Glaciers are really pretty from far away and up close.

Iceland - the edge of the glacier
The edge of the glacier!

 

Ice Caves
The ice caves at the edge of the glacier. So. Beautiful.

 

I thought there may be some good life lesson to be found here. Perhaps there is a lesson about some big things do change us, but in very small ways and steps that aren’t immediately apparent if we stand back and take stock of who we were and who we are now. Maybe there’s a glacier in your life now that you want to rid yourself of because you feel like it’s holding you down, but in reality it’s providing a stable environment we don’t appreciate until it’s gone and things go haywire.

Or maybe this post will just be about glaciers and how cool they are. [See what I did there? That’s some solid wordplay. Because glaciers are cool. And solid. OK, I’m stopping now.]

So Many Ideas, So Much Vacation Time

This past weekend, the company I work for had their annual holiday party. Those of you who I’m Facebook friends with have seen some of the photos from the night. One of the things that happens every year is that our President and CEO each give a speech before dinner starts.  Each person focuses on different aspects of the year and the company as a whole. This year, our CEO surprised many of us (again) with some extra blessings. One highlight for many was that everyone is getting an EXTRA week of vacation in 2013. Provided the Mayans were wrong, we’ll all have 5 extra days out of the office next year.

For an old timer at the company like me, this means a couple things. One, my what I consider an already ridiculous amount of time at 4 weeks is now bumped to 5. (Actually, it’s 6 weeks if you include 5 days I’m rolling over from this year into the first 3 months of next year. First world problems, right?) Two, what am I going to do with all this time? I’m starting a list:

  1. Travel and visit some friends in far away lands like Mississippi or Evanston.
  2. Travel to new places I’ve been meaning to go like: Iceland (northern lights, natural hot springs, awesomeness)
  3. Learn how to do stuff around my house from my super-handy neighbor.
  4. Take a day off every other week all year.
  5. Sleep. A lot.
  6. Other stuff

I absolutely realize the “problems” I have are great ones to have and it makes me reaffirm my choice to still be with the same job I started at right after college. This immense amount of time does get me thinking I should consider some bigger adventures, even if they are local but simply require more time to do. Others, like my dream trip to Iceland, may require saving a few dollars first.

Keep your ears open soon as I may be hitting some of you up for ideas on what to do or a time to visit. This guy has many days he’s free to be away from work. Watch out world! Or don’t.