we are clear blocks of ice

Every year since 1989, in the most northern reaches of Sweden, 200 km above the arctic circle, artists and architects get together to build a giant hotel made exclusively of ice. Three-thousand tons of ice in the form of huge blocks which are cut out of the local Torne River are stored in a huge warehouse from March, when they are cut out of the river, until November, when construction on the hotel begins and ends, all in three weeks.

The hotel is not only loaded with room after room for guests, but it houses a soaring domed chapel that is supported by 20-foot columns. Each room is mono-chromatically luminous with its ice sculptures and ice furniture, and fiber optics are strung through the thousands of square feet in order to add to the magical feeling. It is an amazing thing to behold, even though I have only seen it on television and in photos.

But the most amazing thing of all is the disappearance of the entire structure within three months, when it finally melts back into the ground from whence it came. From the minute after its completion it starts to change, as the breath of the visitors subtly thaws walls and ceilings and art. It is a living thing, beginning its death immediately, not unlike us. Beautifully made, with detail and care, we shine and display our own art. And as we welcome our own guests we change, through their presence, until our time comes to melt back into our starting place. Gorgeous and flowing, like a clear river.

12 comments

Gideon Burton | January 16, 2009 at 10:00 PM

Ice is cracked or cloudy, sharp or smooth. Ancient or transient. Not warm though, like your thoughtful stream of metaphors.

LisAway | January 17, 2009 at 12:03 AM

I love that hotel. They show it on the news every year and it's so beautiful. Neat idea. Neat metaphor.

Heidi Ashworth | January 17, 2009 at 12:17 AM

Ooh, I like the bish's comment. How sweet! And I agree with Lisa, as always, a wonderful metaphor!

April | January 17, 2009 at 12:19 AM

Some of us are clear blocks of ice....some are not so transparent in their character. Unlike the writer of this blog. :D

Heather | January 17, 2009 at 5:54 AM

Wow.

Juliana | January 17, 2009 at 9:28 AM

That's pretty amazing. Even more amazing, I've never been lucky enough to see the footage on TV. Perhaps I'll go peek around on YouTube to see more. Thanks for sharing!

Mrs4444 | January 17, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Awesome. Beautifully written, too.

Lara | January 17, 2009 at 4:20 PM

I just read an article about that hotel and I was fascinated by it.

Loved your metaphor and thoughts about it!

Rachel Cotterill | January 18, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Beautiful! I have heard of the Ice Hotel, it's on my list of places to visit :)

Linde | January 18, 2009 at 4:23 PM

I have seen pictures of this before and would love to see it in person--amazing what they can do. I wonder how long people can visit before it becomes structurally unstable.

Heather of the EO | January 18, 2009 at 6:41 PM

You amaze me, Kazzy lady.

Thank you for yet another thought-provoking poetic post.

charrette | January 19, 2009 at 10:57 PM

Wow, that is beautiful!
Both the structure, the idea, and your use of metaphor.