Nature’s Sculpture Gallery

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In the Hold. When Fred hopped down upon a pile of coal and luggage in the hold to make his bed, the passage: “Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but” we have not where to lay our head, came instinctively to mind. And as others followed down the coal hole, to say Shinickischlena (good night’s sleep) seemed a prostitution of Goodnight wishes. Yet we had to utter the wish in response as each ducked down.

But looking down and being down are fundamentally different as Fred explained. For he had found a solid bed on some dynamite cases which he thus held firm when the ship lurched.

Nature’s Sculpture Gallery. Below Portage where Tahoean waters cease, we sailed down a winding water gallery of rock sculpture such as the world has seldom gathered

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in one place. Scotland, nor Norway nor, they say, New Zealand can have ought like this. From our Matterhorn gate to its U-shaped mouth Sondre Stromfiord was a harmony of El Capitans, Sentinels, Siniolcums, spires, pinnacles, walls, cirques, string falls, ice caps, cornices, glacial tongues, mineral fret work and overlays of tundra color in russet and red, -- all rising from an emerald stream.

A water Yosemite and more maintaining stately procession for eight hours of our day until at a final turn the Arctic sea lay sparkling before us.

The day had been cloudy, yet suited to the sculpture. But at the close a gentler note of cirro-cumulus and diffused light canopied the last sharp pinnacles with their hanging glaciers.*

* Postscript two days later: Sondre Stromfiord beautiful but so grand that it hurts. One needs rest after the ordeal.

Greenland expedition diaries: volume 3, James Edward Church Papers, NC96_13_4_1, p. 9-10.