Das Eismeer – The Sea of Ice (1823-24) Caspar David Friedrich. The Romantic Painter’s depiction of a crushing and unpredictable Polar Sea. A frightening, yet grandiose vision of an untamed and mysterious territory fighting back against discovery.
They say that “Seeing is believing!”
But 17th Century clergyman Thomas Fuller said “Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth.” The full quote that is so often broken up in aid of an opposite meaning.
We can see all we want. In fact, these days we see far too much. I think that in essence is the disadvantage of seeing too much is that we see, but only once in a while do we feel. The more we see, the more difficult it is to have a feeling stirred within us, we’ve seen it all before. Doesn’t stop it from being fun. Especially when you could see anything you could ever need or want to see through a screen: Vintage Tractor Repair, Make-Up Reviews, Stop-Motion Instructional Videos of the Stock Market Crash of ’29? We’ve got it all and we’ve even got it in 1080p.
It’s a wonderful experience…but it can make one forget that seeing something in person, is really experiencing it. Behind a screen, we can construct a comfortable environment. Perfect for helping us see the things we might not want so much to see in person. Out in the world, no matter what one is looking at or doing, experiencing it is inevitable through being in the middle of it. It flares deeper inside oneself to be there. Seeing is believing. But feeling is the truth.
Anyway, the kids got trawled out to the Mer De Glace at the top of the world. And rather than describe it to you, I’ll resort to someone’s feelings about it:
“I can no otherwise convey to you an image of this body of ice, broken into irregular ridges and deep chasms than by comparing it to waves instantaneously frozen in the midst of a violent storm.”
-William Coxe (1777)
“It’s very nice.”
The ‘Mer De Glace’ is an immense valley glacier snaking down through the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps. A worm of churning ice that bristles at 7.5 kilometres long, the longest Alpine Glacier in France, drawfing the Aletsch glacier that sits at a mere 3.2.
We can talk about it all we want, but there’s something riveting about actually seeing it. That’s what is meant by feeling it, rather than seeing it. The truth is all about how it makes you feel.
It’s difficult to fathom it as real when it’s lined up in front of you. It helps with perspective. Makes so many realise how massive the horizon is beyond the valley. I’ve mentioned many times before the benefits of Switzerland as a microcosm of Geographical variety. To have a sight as grand as this at a stone’s throw from CDL’s quasi-metropolitan campus is a rarity we take full advantage of. To offer experiences to our boarders. And with a sight as grand at the Sea of Ice, there’s few who can claim it left them as cold as the glacier itself.
The gang, framed by the epic slopes of the Alpine Valley that cradles the frozen sea below. Our boy Imanali was our emissary and representative of the Olympus Boys (far left in Green/Teal hoodie)
The gang, overlooking the behemoth of ice, no doubt thinking about the majesty of nature and lunch.
It’s like he knows. Aoto regards upwards to the Swiss Horizon. Or at the shuttlecock that’s headed right for his head. Either way, it’s a wonderful weekend full of perspective-shifting grandeur.
Faster than a coiled king cobra, Murat is centimetres from connecting his racket with the shuttle and cause us more grief with the insurance company after he launches that odd little fluorescent cone, rocketing up and through the ceiling of the Olympus Sports Center and through into the Olympus boarding house above.
The running club gears up for another convoy through the Swiss country-side. Our boy Tony (to the right of Martina in red) is once again in tow.
Wandered above the Sea of Fog (1818) Carl David Friedrich. A young man views the world before him, enshrouded in foreboding yet tantalising mystery. It’s a classic piece that I’ve included here as it inspired one of the foremost works set in the Swiss Alps. Mary Shelley’s magnus opus ‘Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus’. The painting was seen by Shelley in London and saw the pioneering and tragic figure on the mount and felt it gel with her vision for her Doctor Victor Frankenstein. A man on a noble mission that leads him far beyond into truly undiscovered territory.
Best of the best from The Olympus Boys!