Siberian Solitude

There was a crack. A sharp cut split the frozen ground. Its echo jettisoned itself from the source in an attempt to find something to reverb against. But there was nothing. And just as a pebble is plunged into a pool the waves would go on; perhaps they could carry themselves forever like the never ending movement of the seas. Or maybe, like the vast void of space beyond the sound would be muted into a suffocating nothingness. The cracking sound came again and a new set of sonic tide chased its elder in a futile race. Again, none could tell whether the noise had effect on anything. Perhaps a petrel wheeled into a somersault before continuing on its flight; or a crab clenched his pincers tightly into a defensive stance. Soon the intrusive noise struck like a metronome as that outer layer of permafrost was scooped away by the hermit’s shovel. His shoulders stooped over his work, acknowledging not the cold arctic sun that shone blindingly at his back. The icy shards that had been disturbed by shovel fall glistened in kaleidoscopic patterns, a fleeting beauty that slowly disintegrated into the oozy mud beneath it. The sea dribbled slowly shore-bound; caressing the icy sand and moss with the gentleness of a mother. Relax, she said, pay no kind to the shovel or the hermit who busies himself. The extraordinary stretch of Siberia could burden one man’s clumsy digging. Continue reading