Few venture into this cirque, I have been alone on every visit. A not too distant headwall, a narrow valley and steep cliffs define the small glacier that once lived here; my walk through its legacy will take me to the headwall, to its birthplace.

A cooling planet allowed snow to accumulate, compact into ice. New snow fell, adding to its size, adding to its weight. Succumbing to gravity, it pushed forward as it grew, slipping downhill, yet still anchored to its origin, its heart near the headwall. The journey was slow, its speed belying the depth of its work. Ripping and scouring it sculpted the terrain, shaping this valley, preparing it for change, preparing it for today.

A shift in climate created the glacier, a shift caused its retreat. Warm air released water from ice, it lost size, lost weight   It continued downhill, still sculpting, still shaping; its backward melt exceeding its forward push. Weakened, as if by age, it receded until it could move no more, dying before the headwall, losing life where it all began.

Mike Bennett

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