On Thin Ice

By Kerri R.

Alice’s feet slip out from under her for the third time in 5 minutes.  The tropical rainforest transformed completely this time after falling into the rabbit hole of the Arctic Hare.  She is glad she bundled up for this Wildlife Winter Wonderland.  But her warm fuzzy boots are not helping her gain traction on the snow-covered ice.  Rather than another attempt to stand, she lifts her shoulders to sit up on the ice.  She squints through binoculars at a figure moving in the distance.  A giant white teddy bear

How is it that the ginormous creature never slips once (no traction boots required)?  But Alice worries as the polar bear treads on the thin ice.  How can we stand in our own power and strength when we step onto fragile terrain? Without breaking what is holding us?  Without falling into a deep freeze, numb to the world around us?  

Like the elephant, the rhino, the big cats and the gorilla, the polar bear’s size doesn’t offer him enough protection from our danger.  His evolution (from the brown bear) to thrive in the cold and survive for days without food are being pushed to a breaking point.  This is his thin ice.  His resources are limited and becoming more challenging to reach.  Alice recognizes his patience and perseverance.  She marvels at how he doesn’t rush with anxiety, when his very survival is at risk.  He continues to move slowly, engaging all of his senses to find what he is looking for.  Taking his cue, she decides to stand up again, taking her time to find her balance first.  One mittened hand….then the other…shifting her weight….rising slowly…both legs straight…she exhales, calmly settling into her small victory.  She stands in the middle of the sea surrounded by land. 

Looking out in front of her, the sea ice looks like stepping stones made of broken looking glasses, each with its own perspective of the same big reflection.  One reflection tells the story of a snow den where a pregnant mamma bear is about to introduce new life.  The melting reflection of another predicts a future we should be afraid to see (“New Economic Activities in the Arctic”).  Alice sees the stories of the indigenous people whose lives are as modern as most around the world, but they also continue to honor their culture. There is the reflection of a snowy owl who has his bags packed visiting from the tundra before heading south for the winter.  And another melting reflection teaches us how we are all affected by the often forgotten Arctic.  All of the reflections are different.  Hope and devastation in simultaneous effects.  

Alice is startled when she sees the polar bear looking back at her in the sea ice.  He seemed so far away before to be so close now.  How often do we take for granted what seems so far out in the distance? Alice notices the polar bear is looking beneath the reflections. The looking glasses always reveal a deeper truth to Alice too.  She names him Oliver Twist.  She knows he deserves more.

They quietly share the open space as the sun sets for one of the last times for the year in the Arctic.  The stars begin to appear in the northern sky.  There is Ursa Minor (Little Bear).  There is Ursa Major (Great Bear).  The moon is almost full.  She hears a howl in the distance.  The sun, the stars, the moon and the wolves.  Alice may be far away, but she feels right at home.       


More Information:

Polar Bear Love

Have you ever been up for an annual review at work?  What if your life was hanging in the balance like the polar bear who is up for their 5-year status review under The Endangered Species Act.  A process that takes years.  Will they be up-listed or de-listed?

The polar bear isn’t even the most at risk.  What about these bears?

The colder temperatures have kept the Arctic relatively untouched.  Given our track record do you believe we won’t take the opportunity to exploit the area?  Take Action 


Continue to the next post: Black & White Hearts


Kerri is an advocate for the introverted activist. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.

Published by Kerri

Kerri is an advocate for the introverted activist. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others . She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.

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