At the foot of the glacier I squat down in order to hear more loudly the percolation of meltwater from the glacier’s cold lip, the hissing bursts of air as small pockets within the ice release their stores of ancient atmosphere. With my head tilted this close, I can feel the glacier’s frigid exhalation against my cheekbones. For a few moments, the density of the silence in the valley exists in concert with the continuous sound of this huge object’s meltdown.
After climbing several hundred feet up the incline of the glacier’s tongue, I step over a cascading stream of water only a few inches deep, turquoise against the white ice, a white so intense I can’t continue looking at it. This rill, five or six inches wide, runs so swiftly through the banked turns of its track that the ribbon of water seems almost to turn over on itself, like a mobius strip. I climb higher, following the flow of meltwater until it diverges into a maze of rivulets, the headwaters of the rill. In little more than a month from now, all will again be quiet here. And the silence will extend from the glacier out across the whitened lowland and out over the fjord’s thickening sea ice.
– Barry Lopez, Horizons (2019), p. 142