It’s been three years since I moved downtown, and it’s been three years since I’ve seen any icebergs around the city. I remember that morning when I drew back the window’s curtains to see a massive berg floating in The Narrows, just beyond St. John’s harbour. The best room with a view.
At first, I never cared about them. Giant blocks of ice playing idle on the Atlantic – what’s so special about that?
But then you find yourself in an iceberg’s presence, and it immediately commands your respect. Like some solemn but unearthly energy is being pulled up from the swells of the ocean, forced out of the greatest depths to beat around the ice. Don’t get too close, it warns.
You will find no rowdy, carousing spectators watching an iceberg sit in the ocean. Those who observe are silent and still, as if any decibel of noise will cause the berg to calve or roll. It might, actually.
And when you’re there, you’re thinking about how much it’s seen as it made its way down through Iceberg Alley, taking a year-long journey from Greenland or the Canadian Arctic Islands, carried south on the Labrador current. It’s felt the passage of time like we all do, 15,000 years of it. But it had grown weary, and broke away.
But now we all come to sit, stand, and observe. Snap photos, and even climb it.
And when we’re done with all that, we’ll make vodka.