Friday, 11 September 2009

and grieved to have a soulless image on the eye

 My brother recently returned from a trip in the French Alps in an area we often visited as children and he reports that the glaciers have retreated remarkably over the past decade. His photos are here, and there’s an article here about climbing and climate change that really gives a sense of time running out.
It's a painful situation. One of the most powerful parts of the magnificent film Age of Stupid shows a Chamonix guide thinking about what's happening:
Here are images from around the world:

The thought of mountains without glaciers gives the title quote, wrenched from Wordsworth's account of first seeing Mont Blanc:

. . . That day we first
Beheld the summit of Mont Blanc, and griev'd
To have a soulless image on the eye
Which had usurp'd upon a living thought
That never more could be. (The Prelude, Vl 452-6)

(There is good news. While Wordsworth did have some more positive experiences in the Alps later, his heart was in the Lakes. Also, there were great winter conditions in Scotland last year as the Mountainplan blog recorded. So flying isn't totally necessary. But really, there are no easy answers to this.)

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