Thursday, December 1, 2016

Miracle at Glacier Bay

Grand Pacific Glacier on the right and Margerie Glacier ahead.

With our eyes glancing and gazing off mountainous peaks the Grand Pacific Glacier came into view.  Grey misty clouds covered the sun and blue skies that had awakened us early that morning, so now our sky became one with the snow covered peaks and glaciers. The sounds of cameras flashing interrupted our sense of solitude.  I wondered how we could so easily feel alone with these vast lands and ocean around us, while standing on a crowded deck with hundreds of other people eager to catch a glimpse of nature’s beauties.

The Norwegian Pearl turned toward the Margerie Glacier. In the valleys between the peaks she appeared as smooth as a NASCAR raceway, but closing in face to face she towered twenty-four stories high with jagged and daggered iced crevices.  The ranger’s voice explaining her raw strength and power to churn and eat her way through granite kept me glued to the voice on the intercom. Suddenly we heard a thunder booming sound. The water rings showed circles where the ice had fallen.

The next few minutes the great ice wall continued to break and shatter into the Glacier BayMargerie was calving and we were her witnesses.  Thunder booming and echoing tingled my senses as the grey misty breeze crossed over my shoulders.  The ranger’s voice shouted “What a grand way to sing Happy 100th Birthday to our National Parks today!” The calving continued with our screams of awe filling the air.

Then out of the misty skies my head and heart felt a new voice, one I’d not heard in many years.  “Isn’t that amazing? Finally. I always wanted to see a glacier and feel the cold of Alaska, and now I’m watching this beautiful moment with my daughter.” 

“Mother?” my voice whispered. I turned away from the glacier and searched the deck and the skies. “Mother?” my voice quivered with my heart beat.

“Remember how I loved to travel. When I was young I spent a summer in Estes Park working. I’ve never forgotten the smell of the pines or the gushing of the winds as they swept down the mountains bringing summer rains, but this is bigger than I could have imagined. Thank you.” I stood frozen in time.

“Oh, mother,” I cried as warm tears welled in my eyes, “I wish you could be here now. I wish you could see this. Why did you leave me? I’ve missed you every day.”

“I’m here now. I’m watching this only because you brought me in your heart.  I couldn’t be happier to share this moment with you.”
In a ghost of a moment so much like the one we’d experienced at her death, exactly twenty-seven years before, nearly to the hour, she floated away.  But she was not my seventy-six year old mother, nor the image of the forty year old mother I’d witnessed floating to heaven that day from St. Francis hospital.  Instead my mother who witnessed this miracle of nature at work appeared to a healthy teenager filled with spirit and a zeal for life. Her wavy long blond hair touched her shoulders and her face illuminated like the sun on a pale rose.  She wore a white long sleeve blouse with the sleeves rolled up, long dark pants and brown and white Buster Brown shoes. 

My mother, whose sudden death from sepsis, saved her granddaughter’s life and reunited a family, was with me.  Little did I realize that she’d never left me. I’ve carried her in my heart and in my head all of these years. 

It never occurred to me, when we booked our cruise the year before, that we’d be fortunate enough to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th Birthday at a National Park, and the only one on water.  What small blessings we receive from moments we never dreamed possible.

“Yes, mother, I am like you and your mother. I love to travel.  Thank you for giving me this zeal for life.”  God Bless….


For more views of calving or about Glacier Bay please check these links.

Calving at Margerie Glacier


Margerie Glacier






1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I miss her everyday. cl

    ReplyDelete