Twice in my life so far, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the immense Perito Moreno glacier in the south of Argentina. Both times I have wandered around in awe, trying to get my head around the incredible size and energy of this ice mass.
Among thousands of tourists, I’ve walked along the pasarelas: wooden walkways and stairs leading past the front side of the glacier, allowing for pictures from different angles and heights. And that’s only the side of the glacier that’s easily accessible; a tiny bit of the ice field.
It is as much a miracle as any human being. And you know what? You two have so much in common!
Here are 5 reasons you and the Perito Moreno glacier are very much alike – and just as special.
1. You Only Show the Tip of the Iceberg
You would never guess that this huge chunk of bluish white ice is about 60 meters high. Moreover, it continues for around 170 meters below the water. The glacier covers an area of 250 km2. That’s an ice field the size of Buenos Aires! A metropolis made of ice! You can never grasp its true size and shape from the view on the walkways.
When people stand before you and judge you by the look on your face, they too see the tip of the iceberg. As much as they might try, it’s difficult for another person to see the vastness of you. You carry around so many years of experiences, thoughts and feelings. So much personality. Your true identity doesn’t easily show on the surface.
2. You Can Be Both Beautiful and Whimsical
From the front, the ice towers look like a bunch of angry hooded men. The glacier is fickle and it has many faces. It can be pristine, but also angry, especially when dark clouds announce another round of bad weather in Patagonia.
Like the weather, that changes from day to day and influences the look of the ice, so do we. You can’t expect to feel the same every day, much less to always feel fantastic. There will be cloudy days and you might come across as angry to other people, even if you’re just tired or lost in your thoughts. And that’s OK.
3. Your Identity Is Dynamical
The Perito Moreno glacier is part of the Campo de Hielo Sur, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field reluctantly shared by Argentina and Chile. A glacier is always expanding and contracting. This is one of the few in the region that isn’t disappearing: it grows about as much as it shrinks. Every once in a while, big chunks of ice fall into the water with a roaring sound.
Your identity isn’t fixed for life, either. It’s always evolving. With every experience, you learn and grow. With every loss, a part of you dies. You add to your identity and subtract from it. You’re always changing. You’re multifaceted. All of these dynamics come from being alive.
4. You Are an Amazing Work of God
The glacier is the third largest reserve of fresh water in the world. It is considered a wonder of nature by many people. Maybe that’s because we don’t fully understand why it’s there and how the summer sun won’t melt it away completely. Maybe we like to watch things that are many times bigger than us, to feel as small as we really are on this planet.
Just like the Perito Moreno glacier, you are a complex mystery and a beautiful miracle of life. You may look like your father or have your mother’s personality traits. Maybe you have a lot in common with your friends or members of your social circles. But in the end, you are unique. There’s only one person in the entire world who can see it from your eyes.
5. You Are Worth Paying a Visit
Thousands of tourists visit Perito Moreno every year. Many people would like to, but don’t have the opportunity. Many others choose to spend their cash somewhere else. But traveling to Patagonia and taking an excursion to the glacier is definitely worth your time and money.
Do you feel, deep down, like you’re unworthy of other people’s attention? When someone approaches you with a camera, do you turn your face away? I’ll confess: I’m not the most photogenic person out there. But it’s nice to create a visible account of my memories and afterwards, I’m always happy to have my pictures.
When you feel shy or insecure sometimes, remember: just like the glacier, you’re worth paying a visit. And having your picture taken.
How has this tale inspired you? I’d love to hear your story!