How Long Can We Ignore?

Alaska weeps daily. Generations of ice, layer upon layer, receding.
Our hush, accompanied by the incessant slow drip of her melting tears.
Like a primal scream from self-inflicted wound, the crack of calving
sends shock waves through our cold.

We turn gingerly, hiking sticks in hand, clamp-ons strapped to boots.
Our quiet retreat is nudged by descending mist. A veil to cover her shards.

Earth dies every day.
We stand on the precipice
blind to her needs.

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse. Prompt is to reach out, write somehow about a silence among us.  Photos from our 2015 trip to Alaska. Chunks of ice as the cruise ship approaches Hubbard Glacier; its shelf looks so small here — in reality it is hugely tall and in the sun, appears as this beautiful color. Other two photos from our 5 mile hike to the toe of Laughton Glacier. The close-up is on the toe, rock debris carried as the glacier slowly moves.  Look closely, about in the middle of the photo, you’ll see the melting. Incessant melting creating glacier streams. We are all too silent, watching the effects of global warming.



30 thoughts on “How Long Can We Ignore?

  1. Victoria C. Slotto April 11, 2016 / 6:12 pm

    You communicate plenty in this silence. The majesty of the glaciers, the intense beauty of their blue–it would be so tragic to lose it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 11, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      I so agree. It was truly humbling to take this long long walk….with much younger folks I might add….and to be enjoying this beautiful glacier stream as it wound in and out of our hike…and then to come upon the glacier itself and see how the stream was being made. Glaciers weeping……


  2. lynn__ April 11, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    The blue glacier photo is stunning…I hope to visit Alaska too someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 11, 2016 / 7:13 pm

      It is a magical land — Denali, the glaciers, wide open spaces. I do hope you get there — it was the trip of a lifetime for us. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. whimsygizmo April 11, 2016 / 6:52 pm

    This is just beautiful. Alaska’s on my bucket list.
    I LOVE this: “A veil to cover her shards”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 11, 2016 / 7:17 pm

      Thank you…glad you liked it. I do hope you get there. It is magnificent. While we were there, we heard many natives talk about how they wished that Denali could be officially called Denali instead of Mount McKinley. Actually, President McKinley never stepped foot in Alaska. But his home state was consistently the only state that would vote against a change in the name. One week after we returned home, President Obama, by executive order either 1 week before or during his trip to Alaska, changed the name officially to Denali. A fitting tribute to the native Alaskans and this magnificent place.


  4. tamekamullins April 11, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    I loved how you made Alaska human. It’s almost like “she” is begging her inhabitants to listen to her. Pleading. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 12, 2016 / 12:34 am

      So glad you liked this one. I was truly touched standing at the foot of this glacier. Memorizing sadness at the natural beauty — and it’s all slowly slipping away.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ZQ April 11, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    Yes I have been following this “transition” good write!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. hayesspencer April 11, 2016 / 8:25 pm

    Yes. If only we would listen. Alaska and the rest of our earth speaks to us constantly but we don’t listen. This is a wonderful and sensitive response to the prompt. I am so enjoying the different responses to this prompt. To me it is a magical thing. Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos and your beautiful words. A friend and I did a cruise to Alaska several years ago. I was glad to be able to experience it before it disappears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 12, 2016 / 12:35 am

      So glad you enjoyed. Alaska is magnificent in it grandness – a vast land with untold beauty.


  7. Grace April 11, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    A relevant message Lillian ~ Our mother earth has been suffering and weeping for so long ~ I love the pictures though Alaska is not on my bucket list actually as I find Alaska too cold for me ~ I prefer going to warmer cities ~ Love your haibun ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 12, 2016 / 12:36 am

      Thank you, Grace. The photos do not do it justice — a magnificent land. And the glaciers inspire awe.


  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) April 12, 2016 / 12:48 am

    I think many of us listen and understand, the melting glaciers is such a forceful force, it’s water tears. But are we willing to do a single sacrifice is another matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 12, 2016 / 7:11 am

      Exactly. I must admit (confession time) – we were so touched by this when we reached the glacier, saw and heard the evidence of all that is being said in papers etc….energized to do something and share the alarm. Once returned to our busy lives….we do just that, go about our lives and forget to be megaphones about this serious problem.


  9. Sumana Roy April 12, 2016 / 1:49 am

    I have watched a number of videos on global warming. I am sure Mother Earth will not heal until humans are eliminated, totally blotted out from the face of this Earth. A wonderful Haibun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 12, 2016 / 7:12 am

      I’m so glad you liked the haibun but I must remain more hopeful than your dire prediction here. We just have to learn….and act.


  10. kim881 April 12, 2016 / 1:52 am

    Not living in such an extreme landscape, it is easy to forget that ice isn’t silent. I love the lines: Like a primal scream from self-inflicted wound, the crack of calving
    sends shock waves through our cold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 12, 2016 / 7:13 am

      Thank you, Kim. And that is exactly what it sounded like and how it affected us. This was the hike of a lifetime. I shall never forget it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. navasolanature April 12, 2016 / 4:47 am

    Lilian, this is so powerful and the silence, the loss of words. What a contradictory experience, beauty and the loss of the ice. I think the haiku really expresses our blindness, our denial of what we are doing to the earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 12, 2016 / 7:16 am

      Thank you so very much for your kind words here. It truly was the trip of a lifetime — and the hike of a lifetime as well. To sit, bundled up, and watch and listen, at the actual toe of a glacier — there is no doubt in my mind that this was the heart of the words “communing with nature.” And we did see her weep — into a glacial stream that on the way up to the glacier, looked glorious and beautiful…until we saw its origins.

      Liked by 1 person

      • navasolanature April 12, 2016 / 5:14 pm

        You convey this so well. It is tragic as we do know the effects we have had and there are solutions if we could stop the political battles.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Mary April 12, 2016 / 9:43 am

    Really very sad what is happening in Alaska and elsewhere; yet there are those in our political system here who say there is no global warming! The evidence is right before us, well expressed in your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 12, 2016 / 11:01 am

      Thank you, Mary. I also can not understand how people can deny this.


  13. Rosemary Nissen-Wade April 13, 2016 / 4:08 am

    Beautiful photos, beautiful haibun.

    Allow me to say, somewhat bitterly, that many if us have been screaming for decades, but nobody listened until too late.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rosemary Nissen-Wade April 13, 2016 / 4:09 am

      *of us


    • lillian April 13, 2016 / 8:35 am

      You are definitely allowed the bitterness here — and the statment too. And sadly, far too many are still not listening — even when scientific evidence is staring them in the face – literally!
      Glad you enjoyed this one….and connected with it on such a visceral level.


  14. mishunderstood April 16, 2016 / 3:02 pm

    We are indebted to the earth yet we still turn a blind eye to what is staring us in the face. I like that you used this prompt to provide a voice for Mother Nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 16, 2016 / 4:40 pm

      The Alaska trip was eye-opening – we really saw global warming in action and it was sobering. Thank you for your insightful comment.


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