Vulnerability is something we have all experienced in our lives. Some more than others. Vulnerability can show up in in the absence of many of our basic needs – often things we all take for granted. Things like food, shelter, and warmth – all crucial for survival. In our western world we are very privileged and are often flooded with more than we really need. This is not true elsewhere. The resources are all there, not everyone can access them.
Here at Bamsebu we are living a purposeful, thoughtful and simple life. Yes, we are 140 km from the nearest neighbor and have a naturally smaller footprint that most, but we have all that we need. All of the necessary items needed to survive are in place before the long polar night descends upon us. We have worked long and tirelessly to plan and prepare for this expedition in advance but we must also stay focused and work hard every single day, just to survive. Living to survive is definitely not the mode we were in at home. But here it feels so meaningful and necessary.
Despite all of this, we must admit without hesitation that we feel extremely vulnerable here. Just last night Hilde’s thoughts lay concerned about the boat motor and the boat itself that was sitting in a soup of slush that was soon to freeze around it. This can happen overnight, we have heard those stories of ships locked in an icy grip. The pulley system was frozen in and exceptionally difficult to manage. The rope and pulley system lies on land and connects to the boat out on the water. When it is frozen you can forget about pulling the boat in. Here in Svalbard many trappers have lost their lives out at sea because of the slushy icy grip that claims them.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our responses lies our growth and freedom” – VIKTOR FRANKL
We have periods of deep worry when the new motor we are not familiar with is so cumbersome to start. There have been so many moments where we have kept trying time and time again, never giving up only to realize that life’s key moments can sit on such a razor thin edge between quitting and trying just one more time. Quitting and giving up is not an option here. There is much to learn about the limits of what our equipment can tolerate and about how much we must persist and endure during trying times. There is no one to call that can come and help us. It is us, Hilde and Sunniva.
On the opposite side of all of the vulnerability and worry is the elation we feel when we have mastered the solution. We feel powerful, capable, strong and confident.
As of this writing the south westerly winds have taken the icy slush and moved it out. Last night’s worry is not tonight’s worry. As we look out at the boat there is a thick layer of ice around its base with the motor and propeller frozen in mounds of ice. Every day is different. Mother nature has many moods so we follow her rhythms. We learn from being awake and from not giving up. We learn from trying.
There are many challenges in our every day. We all have challenges! They can breed insecurity and doubt. But what a feeling when you overcome the challenge with a solution! Besides a lot of worry around our boat, the engine and the ice conditions we have our provisions to think about that can easily spoil. Is there enough wood and water? Every single thing takes thought and action because there is no plan B.
For some reason it is on this very fine line we walk; the edge of insecurity, vulnerability and risk; that makes us feel so very, very alive. There is not one day where we waver around our commitment to collect and deliver the data we have promised and connectivity around the schools we are engaging with. Our survival here is dependent on much we have no control over. The only thing we can do is to respond accordingly. Just knowing that we can respond and act gives a sense of peace and security.
Winter is here. It is snowing. -12’C. Wonderful. So perfect and beautiful it is. To bear witness to the daily changes, observing from hour to hour is a dream come true! Slowly our daylight hours with turn to darkness. The world around us will appear to be smaller with less to see. We will adapt and in that darkness find light that we have never experienced before. This time of transition from light to dark holds a blend of light that is powerful and almost indescribable. Pastel colors that every atom of your being seem to inhale and absorb. It is so out of this world that music has been written about it and infamous art created from its magic. This Arctic light is what people in Svalbard call “«Kåre Tveter lys». He was an artist that captured the feeling of the lights embrace.
We, Hearts in the Ice – are so fortunate to have Galleri Polaris with us as a partner in our project. If you are in Oslo you can experience the magic of this October light with the showing of Kåre Tveter’s art at the opening on November 1st at Aker Brygge . His masterful work will embrace you too!
Autumn love from Bamsebu