Thursday, 29 September 2011

First Snowfall...

In Svalbard Museum, a stuffed Polar Bear crouches ready to attack.

I'm still only wearing two layers - trying to resist the third until it gets really cold. So far, Longyearbeyen has only reached zero degrees.

A freezing fog falls over the town, and every sound is muffled. I walk with Ben and Wyn-Lyn as far as we can see, past the school, in the direction of an art gallery we've heard is perched at the edge of town. But the fog is too thick, we can't see far enough ahead to know where we're heading. The fog spills into the valley, and reminds me of Heart of Glass.

I run 7 miles, down to the Eastern edge of town, as far as I can go before the "Polar Bear Warning" sign that marks the town limits. You should go no further without a gun. I run past a Husky kennel - all the dogs are standing on top of their dog houses, looking around to see where the sound of running is coming from. Their heads flit curiously from side to side, scanning the horizon. One dog sees me and starts barking, and all the others join in.

At around mile three, a light snow starts falling. It sails horizontally, slowly collecting on my eyebrows, in my hair and in the folds of my shirt. It hits my eyeballs and melts instantly, blurring my eyesight for a moment.

The rest of the team arrives on the daily flight from Oslo. We all shake hands like the first day of university. Tomorrow is our last day in town before we set sail.

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