A Radiance of Heliotrope

Entry transcript

[The distant range forming the skyline was one soft blur, a radiance of] heliotrope with a pink base. It was like a cloud softly aglow with only the sky to give it outline. The sun itself was surrounded by a halo of fire gold. The southern sky was a Turner landscape at its softest of heliotrope-pink – a striation of clouds with bold strokes of cirrus radiating toward the zenith. Above was the greenish blue sky.

We were just entering a tiny inlet, the ship’s cradle for the night, and the intervening hills were shutting out the view. Tho the second night without sleep, Fred proposed that we go on shore the better to see the sun and to photograph it in color, saying, “What did we come here for anyway? I can sleep at home more cheaply.” I play poker sometimes, but marine and scenic. So I took a chance on losing more sleep.

June 24, Friday.

Itivdlek. Seated just above us on the rocks were four [Inuit] lads watching us moor. There was no beach, the rocks were steep, but snow banks would give a footing if necessary. A row of tiny crosses on the crest indicated the presence of a village. Fissured rocks furnished a mooring place for our boat. So we stalk silently forth in the soft light and [crisp air, growing chillier from a fresh breeze from the snow clad mountains.]

Greenland expedition diaries: volume 1, James Edward Church Papers, NC96_13_3_1, p. 89.