The only book I took to Greenland in 1996 was Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams. One day, during a three-week hiatus in a tiny coastal village, I took off on foot to see the Icecap. I hiked up a broad, grassy valley past lichen-covered stone ruins until it dead-ended at a rock outcropping. I followed a slot in the rock formed by a snake-like glacier that was running out of steam on its march to the sea. I didn’t know what to expect. Or how to feel. I was alone, excited, and anxious about falling into a crevasse since I knew next to nothing about traveling safely on an icecap. And then…there it was, all-consuming, an infinite sea of blue ice pocked with crevasses, lakes, and rivers. Spotting a tussock, I sat down and pulled Arctic Dreams from my pack. I spent the next four hours, staring in awe at the strange world where I’d arrived. An icy sun hung low above. An arctic hare lounged in the grass nearby.
I never cracked open the book. How could I read?
I finished Arctic Dreams on the plane ride home to Santa Fe. It was marvelous. RIP Barry Lopez
Brad Wetzler is the author of the new memoir "Into the Soul of the World: My Journey to Healing" (Hachette, 2023) and "Real Mosquitoes Don't Eat Meat" (W.W. Norton, 2005). He is a memoir writing coach, podcaster, and yoga teacher. Brad began his career as an editor and adventure-travel writer. He served as a senior editor at Outside magazine and was a contributing editor at Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and George magazines. Brad has written hundreds of articles and essays on wide-ranging topics. He writes books and articles and hosts a podcast about adventure healing, emotional wellness, and faith and spirituality. He lives in Austin, Texas.
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