The path to inspiration often begins with frustration.
On Sunday morning I left the house with the intention of going to one of my favorite Baltimore winter activities – Cinema Sundays at the Charles Theater.
This is a favorite because it includes four of my hearts desires: old, historic buildings; breakfast; movies, and great discussions.
I usually leave Cinema Sundays feeling enlightened or inspired or both.
But this Sunday I left feeling frustrated and hungry. Cinema Sundays had to be cancelled because of an unannounced BGE interruption in service for businesses along Charles Street including the theater.
Not to be daunted in my pursuit of breakfast, I went straight to XS further south on Charles and had a feast but I had to wait to see a movie until the afternoon.
I used the free passes that I got when I purchased my membership to Cinema Sunday and I went to see Chasing Ice.
Once again, the Charles Theater delivered.
Chasing Ice is a documentary film about a photographer (James Balog) who went to Iceland to photograph, what you might expect, ice. That trip launched what he called the Extreme Ice Survey; an expedition that took several years to photograph and film the life and death of icebergs and glaciers all around the world.
The images were stunning. There were times when I saw, through his photographs, that this earth is as magical and mysterious as any far-away planet.
Unfortunately, as it is with many relationships between people, our familiarity with this planet makes us take it for granted while we admire and appreciate and attempt to get to know others that appear to be sexier.
This film made me remember that this earth of ours needs a bit more attention than I have been showing it.
And with renewed romantic feelings I remembered the first time I saw an iceberg with my own eyes.
I was in St. Johns, Newfoundland, on a whale watching boat. It was a grey day with billowing clouds in the sky. The wind was strong and the swells were enormous. I had heard that the way to avoid motion sickness was to focus your attention on the horizon so I trained my eyes to the faint line between sea and sky and there it was– as majestic as a crowned king -a mountain of ice that was so enormous and regal that it took my breath away.
I wanted to be near it. I wanted to touch it. I wanted to see more of it.
A few years later I was given the chance to go to Alaska and I jumped at the opportunity to get up close and personal with the mysterious world of ice.
Mendenhall Glacier, in Juneau, Alaska is a beauty that made it impossible for me to feel anything but awe.
The slow moving river of ice had shapes and colors reminiscent of the crystal prism which hung in my childhood bedroom window and enchanted me with rainbows on the wall.
I learned how long it has lived…how far it has travelled and then, with horror, how quickly it has deteriorated in the last 20 years. Mendenhall Glacier is receding at a rate of 25 to 30 feet per year.
Chasing Ice documents the disappearing of icebergs and glaciers all around the world and provides indisputable visual evidence of global warming and the tremendous impact it is having on our beautiful planet.
This film opened my heart up to the wondrous beauty of our natural world and then it put a vice around my heart. I feel powerless to stop the destructive momentum of the people living here.
I feel impotent. How can any small thing I do help such an enormous problem? How can one person turn the tide in this sea of humanity?
So I will make the effort – even if it feels fruitless. I will make Baltimore cleaner and safer for the here and now. I will make friends in the process and I will encourage you to do the same.
Here is a good resource you can go to if you want meet others in Baltimore who are making the effort:
Alone there isn’t much we can do but together, maybe, we can save the world.