The ice on the lake shone so brightly that it did not look like ice at all.
Frozen into this block of ice were broad, sword-shaped leaves, thin straws, seeds and detritus from the woods, a brown, straddling ant – all mingled with bubbles that had formed and which appeared clearly as beads when the sun’s rays reached them.
And what was this? It must be the ice palace.
But this was unexpected, too: she was standing in what looked like a room of tears.
No one is involved deeply enough to be present. A blast of noiseless chaos may cause the air to vibrate in distant bedrooms, but no one wakes up to ask: What is it? No one knows. Now the palace, with all its secrets, goes into the water-fall. There is a violent struggle, and then it has gone.
Quotes from The Ice Palace by Tarjej Vesaas, translated by Elizabeth Rokkan.
Can we do this, too — transform our transient stream of thoughts, worries, and hopes into something else, like frost transforms water into ice?
How do we begin? How do we get ready for it like water always is?
In Adalbert Stifter’s Rock Crystal (quotes below in the translation by Marianne Moore) the two siblings Sanna and Conrad get lost on a vast glacier in a snow storm on their way home in the Alps. Frost has transformed the landscape, and is transforming the children, too, to the absolute essential.
The boy maintains hope, despite evident hopelessness, and his little sister maintains trust.
At last they came to a tract with not a tree on it. “I don’t see any trees,” said Sanna. “Perhaps the road is so wide we can’t see them because of the snow,” said the lad. “Yes, Conrad,” said the little one.
“Sanna, we cannot go over there,” said the lad. “No,” said the little one. “We shall just turn around and get down somewhere else.” “Yes, Conrad.”
These dialogues continue like this, while the children spend the night on the mountain in the ice. Conrad and Sanna are becoming ice, too, Conrad refracting reality and Sanna reflecting it back to him.