Saturday, September 09, 2006

A goat in the mist

It’s cold, so cold the girl huddle close to the whisperlite stove, willing the water to boil. We are back at camp, after a long day in the field. It is Lucia’s turn to warm us up, the sixteen year-old has traveled to Mount Baker, Washington from Spain. We clap our hands together mimicking any movement that Lucia makes. As the laughing starts, the water boils, and we are ready to begin our evening discussion drinking tea and cocoa. I reflect on the long days hike over the Easton Glacier, our failed attempt to look at the Deming Glaicer, covered in thick clouds. The 9 high school girls kept their attitudes positive and we had a good time looking down crevasses and tracing Gatorade as it flowed around the ice crystal boundaries. There is so much to see that is immediately under our feet. The girls smile at each other and trade candy bars back and forth keeping warm in the near freezing mist.

We have been thinking about the connection between science, religion, and art, a discussion that started as we lunched and waited for clouds to lift at the Deming overlook. This is a staple question asked by Girls on Ice inventor Erin Pettit. For Erin, the world is an amazing place to explore, and unknown journey. It is nice for analytical me, to be reminded by Erin, CeCe, and the (brilliant) girls of how much we don’t know.

Lately, I have been strategizing ways to communicate science, especially global warming findings to the public. In doing this, I try not to deal too much with the unknown, and offer as many facts as I can to any ear that will listen. It is nice to shift focus for a while and think about how many things there really are left to understand, and how we are only just beginning to find out answers to some of the mysteries of the universe.

Over hot drinks, the girls share their insights on what defines a wilderness experience. The fog lifts slightly, and we are able to see the next moraine over. A mountain goat stands staring down at us. Quiet, and strong, and then back into the mist the goat disappears.

(the girls had to record their experiences for one day-so I thought I might too). The pictures don't match the day.

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