Aki and I are at the one place near Juneau where ice still covers water after the thaw: the glacial moraine. It’s where winter come first and leaves last. It’s where we ski and skate and do a lot of starring at the river of ice. I’m starring at it now. This morning’s heavy overcast has weakened to let shafts of sun strike the flank of Mr. McGinnis. New ice on the lake mirrors the image of the illuminated spots of forest, the moving mists below them, the pale blue glacier ice, sharp peaks of McGinnis, and the Mendenhall Towers. Has rock and H20 in its three phases of ice, vapor and water made art? Or does it require a photographer like Juneau’s Mark Kelly to elevate these images?
I image Aki and I as anthropologists drawn here by reports that members of the mineral community produce their own art. After cataloguing the glacier and mountains reflections on lake ice, we cross a mud bar to reach the moraine. Aki sniffs out a grotto of ice pillars, half clear as glass, half an opaque gray. They support a roof of glacial silt mud, “Clearly Aki an intelligent mind is at work here.” The little dog, a more detached observer than I, pees and walks over another section of ice supported mud that collapses under her weight. “Quite right, Aki. It just chemistry, not our field; more a matter of molecular bonding.” It’s still beautifully placed crystal that I’d be proud to capture in a decent photograph.