Before I came to you, I imagined easy wind-blown horizontal snow, and glass plate photography, I imagined the place of a scholar’s dream, dreamt of in a library, sewn leather elbow patches and classic globes, soft light over reading carrousels, a geographical limit, a lecture, a conception… and instead I found the real mess of love, the sea tortured into tumult, at times steel blue and menacing, at others evolving to tropical glacial silt and clear, I found a whipping cold and an over-indulgent splendid sun, rubbing my skin to the point of pain like a new lover; before I came to you I imagined the stage prop of a black and white sea bird, a tuxedo, and instead found the mystery of a society, hidden in your snowy museum for millions of years, like the human race in a different form, stowed away in the Earth’s bottom, on eggs, concealed in feathery wet fat, loving and cheating and living as we do, but without the fanfare, without the need for recognition, quietly caring for its young: tender, harsh, and real, dying; before I came to you, I imagined that I was strong and clear, that I could march across your back and chart point A to point B, but found instead a yawning catalogue of time stored in ice, millennia stacked mercilessly, Vikings, Christians, Buddhists and Neanderthals all crushed thinly, easily, a single shelf in your ice library; I found vertical granite walls, impassable glaciers, a maelstrom of ice and rock, impossible to navigate in my mind, and yet I walked on your shores and witnessed your wilds, I was able to perceive you: I dreamed of a goddess and found instead a real woman.

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