Terminus: Blue Glacier by Maria Seda-Reeder

a decorative line divider with curled ends and a snowflake at the center.
Black and white photograph of a massive mountain glacier

Austin Post, 1964


The daily erosion of memory
This chasm of loss
Sweet-smelling and fecund
Perfumes the world as I move through it
The land speaks in deep sonorous notes
Marking a slow nearly imperceptible rhythm as a yardstick of time
Seen through the veil of swirling clouds
Just far enough away so as to seem
Simultaneously remote yet ubiquitous
Nearby and inaccessible
I have grown a whole mythology of remembrance in its place
Vast distances and oppressive nearness were the gods of my life
Cynoglossum Blue
Tangled Up in Blue
Almost Blue
Resonating like a bell in my head
The presence of something just beyond reach
There is no time during the composting process when rotting ceases
And growth begins
Change being the only constant
We return again to the stars from which we are made
Holding on tight is akin to rigor mortis
Time perpetually building up like so much residue
Grinding the body down as water does rock
Great swaths of time so expansive our instruments require recalibration
Reimagining the pooled surface as one for scrying
Operating as an infinite channel rather than a finite vessel
A suncup lava lamp
Witnessed from a non-extant precipice
Evaporating shiny ball of light
Reflecting and refracting the great orb above
That sense of being on the edge of eternal time
Dissolving before our very eyes

-maria seda-reeder

Artist's Statement

"My experience of witnessing the Blue Glacier, for which I wrote my poem, 'Forget-me-not' was from the precipice of a building that no longer exists: the Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge. I traveled to Port Angeles in May of 2022, just days after finding out I’d been accepted as a resident in Terminus: A Glacial Memorial Project. I proposed writing a poem in which I would collage found statements, language, and the voices of those I encountered over the course of my short stay in town. In attempting to get close to the Blue Glacier, I spoke with park rangers about closed roads and the reasons (and consequences) for undamming rivers. I drove and hiked for miles, took endless photos of vistas of faraway peaks and closeup images of local fauna, and simply listened to the sounds of my boots crunching upon the earth.

"The resulting poem is a larger metaphor for how the loss and longing for our natural world is likewise reflected within the current zeitgeist of American society—a culture that is also currently experiencing its own process of decay and erosion. Within the poem there are song titles; a scientific name for the common forget-me-not flower; quotes from a writer who lived in a field station on the Blue Glacier from age five until sixteen; as well as snippets of park literature and conversations with rangers about the magnificent nurse trees seen everywhere throughout Olympic National Park. What struck me the most about my time in the park was how much everything in the forests were both alive and decaying simultaneously. And so I hope that my final poem reflects my immersive experience of 'witnessing' the Blue Glacier—if only from afar." -Maria Seda-Reeder
a decorative line divider with curled ends and a snowflake at the center.

Meet the artist: Maria Seda-Reeder

Maria Seda-Reeder believes in the power of words to reimagine new shapes and meanings out of preexisting visual and conceptual languages. Director of Exhibitions & Artist Support Initiatives at Wave Pool: A contemporary art fulfillment center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Maria (she/they) has been working with and on behalf of artists for almost 20 years. In her daily writing and public speaking praxis as an arts administrator at a busy socially-engaged art center, she teases out threads of symbolism from imagery embedded within art, popular culture, and contemporary social exchanges. A curator, writer, and academic, Maria taught at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design Architecture Art and Planning for over a decade; has covered the work of living artists for online and print publications alike; and independently organized exhibitions at museums and galleries across the country. She holds a BA in History, an MA in Art History, and a Certificate in Museum Studies.

You can see more from Maria at her artist website here.

A man bends over equipment embedded in the ice of a huge glacier, including long polls, backpacks, and a bucket. In the distance, a panorama of mountains beyond mountains.


More about the Blue Glacier

The largest and most visited glacier in the park, climbers travel its surface as they ascend Mt. Olympus, the tallest peak in the park. It is an iconic glacier often viewed from one of the Park's most popular trails, the High Divide. The Blue Glacier has a legacy of scientific study, beginning in 1957 when a historic research hut was constructed on the Snow Dome and occupied for the International Geophysical Year. Generations of glaciologists worked and studied at this site during summer months until the 1980’s.

Two matching photos of a massive mountain glacier, labeled 1899 and 2018. In the 2018 image, the glacier has diminished in size significantly.

Matching photos show both the thinning of the glacier and the massive retreat of the snout over the last century. Quileute-Hoh tribal folklore spoke of Thunderbird living in a nest underneath this glacier and bringing whales back to feed the young there.

a decorative line divider with curled ends and a snowflake at the center.

Last updated: July 14, 2023

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