Where do we actually find peace of mind? Open spaces in the Arctic and specifically right here at Bamsebu (77.55 latitude/15.06 longitude) are a geography of possibility.
With the advent of technology and accelerated speeds at which we can literally “connect” with each other, the space to actively listen to the sounds of silence and the sounds that only nature can produce, are rare. Our ancestors needed silence to listen to encroaching danger – be it wildlife or storms but today its different – we get much of our information from some form of technology or an app.
You could say that our life here at Bamsebu is like stepping back in time, in almost every way. Almost except for the fact that we do actually have a 16kg watertight pelican case outside that houses a round white Thales MCD Mission Link that does connect us with the rest of the world when we press the “on” button.That box makes it possible for us to send you this dispatch from a life “back in time”.
It is quiet here
The sounds we do hear are like a library of books, full of information.
When we are sound asleep, we can hear a pin drop. And so it was just a few days ago when we heard a very LOUD BANG! From both of our angles it was loud enough to jolt us out of bed and into our layers; headlamp and weapon on us; and out we went no questions asked. While the adrenalin is flooding our system, our eyes are darting left to right. Surely it was a polar bear?! Where? With freshly fallen snow – it would have been easy to see the tracks but there were none.
Back inside we spotted the culprit! It was a can of sparkling water that froze, exploded and jumped off the top shelf and on the floor! We get good grades for readiness and listening skills.
Here, we must always be on the alert.
Our senses are now in tune to the environment – this environment. We listen for the crunch of animals in the snow – polar bears and reindeer. We hear the howl of the wind as it screams past our stove pipe and shakes the side walls on this non-insulated 20 sq metre cabin.
We hear the ice floes breathe in and out as they labor towards the shore in a pool of slush.
We feel the weight on our shoulders from dragging a 400 kg boat and we can hear the sluggish drag across the snow. One. Two. Drag….
We can hear ourselves being out of breath as we do our “HITI” workout.
We can hear Ettra groan with delight as she splays across the cool wooden floor.
We can hear the radio antenna wire slap across the wood – an incessant slap that reminds us of the 20 m/s wind.
We can hear the crackle of the wood burning stove.
We can hear the cycles of change from day to day, dark to night.
And, we can hear silence. It truly is golden.
What we can’t hear… we cannot hear the sound of a shooting star.
We can’t hear the dance of the northern lights.
We can’t hear the sounds of the nearest town of Longyearbyen (140 km away) and, we cannot hear the Iridium satellite in orbit that travels at 17,000 mph/30,600km and hour above (making an orbit in 100 minutes).
This time of year noise is everywhere – there is airport noise, shopping noise, freeway noise, emails dinging in the inbox, phones ringing and our minds working on overdrive and too little sleep. So much to do – overwhelm is large. Quiet is hard to find.
“Peace” becomes a word we read on a Christmas card.
Here we can hear the beat and rhythm of Mother Nature.
She breathes and roars and cries and whispers.
We have found the sweet sound of silence and the quiet peace of mind.
In this space of quiet we have the openness to let every single one of you; dear readers and dreamers we have the space to let every one of you into our hearts and minds as we take the biggest gulp from this last sip of 2019 and ring in 2020.
A New Year that is full of possibility, peace, respect for all things and people and a sort of happiness, magic and harmony that WE ALL can co-create!
We Bamsebu dwellers – Sunniva, Hilde and Ettra will take 5 minutes of “complete silence” at 1800 CET ( 1200 EST/900 PST) on January 1st. With the intention to “Embrace the Planet” and all of its people. Please join us for 5 minutes and make sure to look up towards the sky. “Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moon light…someone’s thinking of me…”
Happy New Year Everyone!
Love from Bamsebu, Sunniva and Hilde
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