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Rickey Gates Tuesday, 14 May 2013 14:53 TWEET COMMENTS 0

The Ice - Page 4



A sun halo caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere. Photo by Haley Buffman.

Looking out the galley window onto the vast and barren expanse of snow before me I wondered, as one must wonder on the deck of a ship far out at sea, just how far I was peering into the distance.

Nowhere on earth, I thought, do three dimensions so closely resemble two. I sipped my coffee and paused to dislodge a sinewy piece of bacon from my teeth. Or maybe, I thought, if dimensions had intentions this landscape was two dimensions trying to be three ...

In recent weeks my mind had started taking on the characteristics of an amorphous cloud. Thoughts would come and go like a dream. I’d stop mid-sentence, forgetting what I was saying. Mid-thought, forgetting what I had been thinking. This one, I held onto.

Or three dimensions trying to be two.

I had been warned of the slow deterioration of the mind and body. I had been warned that my joints would begin to ache, which they did, and that I would be consumed by a fatigue that couldn’t singularly be explained by the frigid temperatures, high altitude or long working hours. In a place where even the needle of a compass gets confused I had to consider that thing called “energy” by some, “juju” by others.

“You came here to run that race.”

Jeremy startled me. Everything startled me. Maybe it was because I hadn’t seen the sun set in 121 days. Maybe my compass was off.

He tried again: “You did, didn’t you?”

“I hadn’t considered that,” I said.

Why I didn’t want to admit that the race was the reason I came down here was perhaps because it was an admission that I was no different than the landscape outside the window. My life, up until that point had been a quest for simplicity. I found that I loved washing dishes. The work was as basic and simple as running, which was as basic and simple as the landscape before me. I had happened upon a Mecca where the year is a day and I was only there for six hours and it scared me to admit that I didn’t want to leave.

Rickey Gates is a Contributing Editor for Trail Runner.


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