“A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of laughter more terrible than any sadness—a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the Sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-hearted Northland Wild.” —Jack London
I haven’t read Jack London since I was in high school, but for some reason, it seemed thematically appropriate to begin this weekend’s writeup with one of his quotes. I love the bitterly, brutally rendered arctic tundra over which our flaxen-haired heroine traverses. As beautiful as the snow is, it has the feel of one of the frigid landscapes London describes so spine-chillingly in his novels and stories. Excellent landscape, all around, Tim.
Thankfully, our intrepid arctic traveler seems to be well-protected from her biting environment. All of her clothes appear to be fur-lined, well insulated from the cold. Her head is protected by a similarly-insulated hood, with a burgundy scarf to wrap over her face. Her coat is heavy and thick, though I’m surprised not to see any additional pockets or pouches. Gloves look warm, but thin enough not to impede her gun handling. Her pants look to be insulated similarly to her coat, with pouches strapped to each leg and additional padding to protect her knees. Lastly, our survivor’s boots are fur-lined, with the tops tied with cords to better keep out the cold.
I like the looks of her gear as well. Gun looks to be a sportsman’s rifle, bolt-action. Highly effective for hunting in the frozen wilderness. Her walking stick is a Nordic walking pole, likely either carbon fiber or aluminum—so as well as moving quickly over rugged terrain, our heroine is getting an excellent workout from her journey. Everything else she has she carries in her backpack. A bedroll is strapped to the top of her pack, handy for sleeping through the frigid nights. Her bag likely also contains standard amenities for alpine survival: rations, matches, flint and tinder, insulated water bottles, a utility knife of some kind, rope, spare ammunition, bandages, perhaps even a flashlight and batteries for the arctic nights. All in all, I think our survivor is well-outfitted for her frozen journey.
With no outside context for the image, it’s interesting to speculate as to what exactly our heroine is surviving. Has there been a new ice age, entombing most of the world in unending winter? Or was she driven from her home by invaders, now waging a winter guerrilla war against those who cast her out? Or is she a pathfinder, perhaps, scouting the terrain for an arctic expedition? The story possibilities are endless.
Many thanks to Tim for letting me borrow his heroine. As always, thanks for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!