When Ice Cracks, Life Emerges


April 1, 2020. This is the view from my camper window as the ice starts to crack open near the shoreline. An otter just scooted by! It must have come up through the crack in the ice. It made me giggle. So smooth in the water, it looks rather clumsy on land. It reminded me of the seals I saw in Antarctica — amazing swimmers in the water and oaf-ish lumps outside of it. People can be like that sometimes too. In their natural environment, meaning the culture in which they were raised, they are comfortable and conversant. Take them out of that environment — for example, put a rural person into an urban environment or vice versa — and they can become hesitant, suspicious, and even fearful. Over time, though, the ice of suspicion cracks and trust re-emerges.

Otters and people can both adapt, when prompted. Or forced. As I move back and forth between my urban home and my rural one, I feel my own patterns and assumptions start to crack open. New insights come with each transition from one location to the other. Like the ice in the spring, I’m going through my own changes. The ice makes a racket as it changes, the seiche (current) underneath causing it to creak and moan like an old farmhouse floor. My mental changes can be noisy too. They keep me up at night sometimes. Questioning one’s assumptions is a messy business. It can be exhausting. Fortunately, I can always take a walk in the woods to calm my mental clatter!

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