Being in Greenland has brought to consciousness some pretty incredible and unexpected things.
For example, when you go outside, any part of your body not covered by at least four layers of wool, fleece, and then GoreTex, freezes. Including eyelashes, hair, and snot inside your nose.
This makes photography a complex issue. Because most cameras are not designed to be navigated through massive mittens.
What this means is that attempting to capture the remarkable beauty that has literally spewed itself all over this incredible country requires great risk, and a potential loss of important body parts.
Fortunately, GoreTex mittens come with brilliant little liners, some of which are even touch-screen savvy.
Unfortunately, -25c is a bit too cold for those liners to serve much of a purpose without the added layer of mitten over it - and as I learned today on dogsleds up in the mountains, even the mittens aren't always enough.
But I'm dedicated to my photography, and so I'm willing to risk losing limbs to share my experience of this place with the world. And so, off the gloves go, every time I see something beautiful (this happens approximately every 5 minutes here).
It's interesting to have a purely somatic and unbelievably visceral experience of something being frozen.
When your hands are exposed to the cold, they actually go a bit numb first. You don't really realize that they are freezing until they are completely numb. Then what really hurts is when you try to bend them at all. They literally begin to crack because the water in your cells have turned to ice.
And so you take your picture and you quickly put your gloves and your mittens back on.
And then the most excruciating thing happens. As your hands begin to warm up again, they BURN. Your joints feel like you've stuck lazer blades in them. And it lasts for usually around 1-2 minutes (sometimes longer, depending on how cold they were). Anyway, it's incredibly painful.
Emotions work the same way.
We are rarely conscious to the fact that we have numbed or opted to not feel an emotion. It effectively freezes a part of us, and the only time it causes us pain is when we try to move around it, or provoke it in some way (triggers).
But what's often the most painful is the process of thawing numbed emotions. We experience pain about on par with bringing frozen hands back to life. It's horrible, and in the case of our emotions, it's really compelling to just go back to being numb.
In the case of fingers, that's not really an option. Because for whatever reason we value our hands more than we value our hearts.