Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.

Rachel Carson, “The Sense of Wonder”

In February we shared that we were going to officially leave our hut Bamsebu on May 8th. Our overwintering done, summer staring at us with perhaps a trip to Greece, Italy – somewhere warm where we don’t have to wear so many layers, and then ready to take all lessons learned on the road. Instead we have shifted focus on priorities given that the world, as we knew it, is at a standstill. We will be here at least through September – Hearts in the Ice Part 2. We are all living the questions these days so stay tuned!
We cannot imagine that there are many people that have been as isolated from the news of the day or so far removed from any hint of danger from the virus as we have?
We have been free of the inundation of bad news and spiralling statistics but we are informed so we will keep sharing the world we are living in here at Bamsebu. This is one of the ways we know to bring you into our world, with our words, our photos.
And please, let us know how you are doing:!

Just days ago we woke to sunshine and no wind. Bliss!
It was the kind of day you throw the doors wide open on. And that is exactly what we did!
We have these amazing bright red Helinox rocking chairs that we set up on our snowbank that sits higher than the top of our front door. Put on our down jackets, hats and sunglasses, and sat. Outside. In the sun.
Our Arctic silent spring.
It was so peaceful you could inhale the silence. Peace of mind is soothing and inspires great things in its calm. Immersion in nature provides this – for free!

Spring is here in the Arctic! We both absolutely love this time of year. Spring can refer to love, hope and youth where there is the hint of new possibilities, new growth, new life; the signs subtle yet unmistakable.
For some of us it’s the first red robin we see. The first time you get to take your little purple bike out when enough ice has melted. The smell of the sweet earth warming up. The buds on the trees. The smell of freshly cut grass. Or, sounds that seem to make everything seem to bolt to life. And then there is that feeling that things are waking up inside you with the promise of adventure one downed coffee cup away!

Today the snow is slowly starting to melt. It has rained and we are having a few days with +1-2’c which shows signs of the dirt underneath where the reindeer have been scraping for food.
On a snowmobile ride we saw two seals sunbathing in a pool of ice. We heard the early return the little auks on April 1st and then there was the beautiful white ptarmigan that seemed to want to court us, coming so close we could see the glint in his eyes. Priceless.

The midnight sun adds its own magic with the pastel lights still lingering between 11-1am. The night that really took our breath away was when we were most fortunate to observe a 4-month old polar bear cub with its mom in Recherchefjord. The cub was much smaller than Ettra. It was the kind of moment that feels so intensely intimate and tender. We feel so privileged to be able to share that the polar bear mom that Norsk Polar Institutt – NPI had been tracking had given birth. The cubs are most often born in December and they remain in the den until March or early April. The mother does not eat or drink anything during the 4 – 8 months in the den!
Picture this visual – the newborn cubs weigh little more than ½ kg (1 pound) and they are blind, toothless and covered with short, soft fur. They grow quickly and nurse for at least 20 months. To witness the bond, dependence and fierce protection from the mother was astounding.
We are reminded of how fragile life can be and how humbling it is to be such a close part of all of the wonder that surrounds us.
According to Jon Aars, our resident Polar Bear expert from NPI, the Covid-19 virus is preventing travel for all research so our continued citizen science work and observations become even more critical to data collection and further study of the impact of climate change in the Arctic and biodiversity.

Since we have no trees or grass here around us, please do us a favour? Feel the dirt in your hands, walk barefoot in the grass, smell the rich scents of the forest. And remember that the best gift ever is time you take to share your love with people, creatures and the places you inhabit!
Embrace each other with your thoughts and kindness. Embrace our planet!

Big hugs, Sunniva and Hilde

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