• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 05
Image by

Some tips for acclimatising in the meantime

You will get used to the white light. It comes at you
first like a spear, like a sharp icicle in a fencing match
you didn’t agree to and can’t remember all the parries for.
It is more the idea of cold than cold, the texture of expectation
so a wool scarf is more a comfort than necessity. Some start
with heavy cloaks woven from goat and alpaca but they become
cumbersome. The mainland of course has other options.
But once you’re on the island.           At night
you can hear the forest chittering over the lake and the ice
creaking as though they were chatting right over your head,
like your parents in the next room after you’re supposed
to be asleep. It’s disconcerting. Sleep masks are a must
and of course dark glasses for a time.      But other than that.
The air, say the artists, is crystalline. The other day
I tried to paint a fish that circled and circled a rock
in the shallows as though trying to decide whether to ask
a favour. Each scale glancing copper and silver. I reached
a hand into the water and the fish swam through my fingers
like mercury. They have not yet entirely let go, the ones so
close to shore.          I wish I could tell you how long it will take.
It’s more an art, as they say, than a science. For some mere
minutes. For others days or weeks, although those words
will become quite meaningless.      This morning I saw my hands
glistening in the water. A bright glimmer of silver over my skin.
It’s quite painless. And whatever you find on the shore is yours.
I will have no further use for any of it.