Craig Childs - House of Rain
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Field Notebook

March 07, 2011
On Patagonian Ice

Photo by James Q Martin
Photo by James Q Martin
We all want to get a little closer to the terminus and look into the shattered blue crevices, but Leidich says no. It's too dangerous at this point. Timmy is itchy, though. Dancing around on the toes of his crampons, he looks off the edge of our iceberg across a jumble of floating, bobbing chunks.

"I think I can do it," he says to me, quiet so Leidich cannot hear.

Before I can ask, do what, Timmy takes a running start. He flies off our iceberg and lands on a barrelhead of ice that rotates and submerges behind him. He is already airborne landing on the next. As he sprints and leaps, big counter-balanced pieces of ice shift and log-roll behind him. Even Leidich has to watch with amazement. He does not look like a human being, not a clunky creature in the least. Timmy is animal, flying on instinct, every weight and shift in his body matched to the world around him. Running loops with barely a pause, his crampons hardly touch ice. He is weightless, though the ice turns and submits behind him.

Long-jump back to us on solid ice, Timmy waffle-plants his crampons and Leidich grabs his arm to stabilize him. Leidich then gets a solemn promise of no screwing around until we are back on dry land.

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