The Calling

Usually it comes in mid-January as a curt email from Esther. “We’re on. You in?” Then she simply states the dates in June.

We all live in different states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina. Except for our same-time next-year trip to Iceland, I only see these women a couple of times a year.I might go up to the Berkshires or New Jersey to ride with them for a weekend, since they have horses and I don’t. But the times are few and far between. When Esther sends this January email it starts a charge and I envision all of us looking up from work on our computers, sights drifting northerly, sniffing the wind like polar bears. Other emails then start to trickle in from the group. Bev attaches photos of our trip taken last summer. I’ll send a link to an island for sale off the coast of Breidafjordur, “Let’s all chip in and buy it!” I write in the subject line. (I dream big about small, cold islands.)

Arctic Sea Ice

Somehow inviting

Then Kathryn sends a video link attached with the message, “What an adventure!” I open it up. It’s a short film of undulating broken ice, a place (not named) where Inuit men and women lower themselves down a treacherous ice chute to the bottom of a fissure during the brief low tide, risking their lives to collect pails of mussels before climbing out by rope ladder  before the tide comes rushing back in.

I get the message. What these images all bring together for us–ice, the Arctic sea, the scary frigid water, the screeching of the skuas. Iceland.

I buy my tickets. “I’m in,” I type back.

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