It takes 100 feet of snow to, overtime, form one foot of strong, blue glacier ice.
That’s just amazing to me.
I heard about this incredible fact during a visit to the Meade Glacier near Skagway, Alaska, with my family earlier today. As we set foot atop this incredible block of ice forged through the centuries, I could not help but be in awe of Nature — and of these incredible blocks of ice formed over thousands of years. I had flown onto a glacier before, but the experience still grabbed me.
As I looked around the unforgettable vastness of white and blue ice, it struck me: we are glaciers too. Spiritual glaciers. We form into who we are a little bit at a time over many experiences in the course of hundreds of lifetimes through thousands of years. Before we can leave a mark in the world, like a glacier pushing its way through mountains of rock to create great valleys, we must also begin with small everyday actions, like the snowflakes that accumulate to form glaciers over time.
It takes a lot of great small actions to build a permanent habit. Like the 100 feet of snow that, with time, compact over its own weight to make one beautiful, deep blue, crystalline foot of glacier ice. The choices we make today, like the snow that forms glaciers, make us into who we are in the long run. This transformation does not happen quickly, and we often do not see the process at work in ourselves or others, but it is always going on.
Rather than disheartening, we can see this slow accumulation of choices and habits as encouraging: we do not need to affect great change at once to become great ourselves. We only need to work, a little at a time, at making good choices. In time, these good choices will become good habits, and these habits will turn into virtues – significant, colossal, and permanent like the largest of all mountains of ice. In the great chain of behavior, today’s snowflake does not always know it is tomorrow’s glacier. It is time for us to change that; to be more intentional with what we do and who we become. We must learn to appreciate the snow and not just the fully formed glacier.
Eventually, this natural process of evolution will build us up to become formidable beings capable of making our way through the harshest of terrains ahead of us; there will be nothing we cannot transpose given time and effort. And much the same way the mightiest of glaciers carve their way through sheer rock as they move steadily through time, we too will form beautiful valleys in our wake as we go through life. But it all starts with the simple and fragile snowflake: the choices we make right now.
So, let’s make the best ones we can today. Let’s continue to accumulate positive moral experiences which, through their own weight, will help us squeeze out all the air bubbles and empty spaces still longing to be filled in our souls. Like blue glacier ice formed because of pressure and over time, let us become beings of concentrated grace reflecting only the most beautiful color to everything around us. We can speed this entire process up by simply acknowledging we are all spiritual glaciers — forming over time and always moving. It is within our reach — and it is possible. Our own happiness is being birthed today – and right now.
What good choices will you make today?