Sunset and Immortality

Entry transcript

Camp Little – Sunday Aug. 22

A long time between entries, but life is becoming routine on the down trip and work at base camp.

[Inuit] – [Inuit] have hearts. Abraham and Nathaniel received death-news at Itarnok. They were sad and dejected but did not weep. I could not resist patting them gently on the shoulder to show that I understood. Their glance of appreciation and increased cheerfulness during the afternoon was full reward.

Aurora Borealis – The “Aurora Borealis” so prominent at Sarfanguak has faded in the presence of the Homo Borealis whom I have learned to admire. There are now three tabood [sic] subjects for light gossip: George (Jarge), Janes (for they’re my girls) and [Inuit].

Storms—Snow fell in a light flurry on Pingo Aug. 15. August 20-21 and 21-22, snow fell on the peaks about us. Yesterday two deposits of snow fell above 2000 ft. W of fiord, and a snow flurry occurred at Camp Little. Last night a light cover of snow were on the heights above and S. of camp. Today from Mt Burten snow drifts were visible on the higher peaks to the N and on Pingo, i.e. from 2500 to 4500 ft. elev. In Sierra snow falls in September in similar amount above 8000 ft. Is this Greenland snow storm usual? How long before winter will set in?

Landscape—Sunset at the “Gate” on Tassersuak Sunday Aug. 15 is my answer to the human longing for immortality. To have seen it is full compensation for having lived and fills even our short lives with complete satisfaction. No more shall I claim superiority in landscape for the West. Greenland fascinates me with her forms and colors. Oscanyon, who saw this [landscape from Camp Little, said that he had seen many sunsets in far parts of the world but none such as this.]

[In margin] Semele & Jones,

Poem by Sill

One can afford to die after seeing the unseeable.

Greenland expedition diaries, preliminary trip, James Edward Church Papers, NC96_13_1, p. 89.