Ablation

It was a spot of bad luck that Johann Strauss, the glacier (no relation to the German composer, glaciers being generally older than most Germans), hadn’t joined his fellow ice sheets and drifted south towards the pole. Luck is the stock in trade of the glacier lifestyle, you see, for lacking limbs or flippers they are subject to the whim of the inscrutable ocean. Once, in Johann Strauss’s prodigious memory he recalled another glacier contriving to attach itself to a great billowing steam engine. But it bonded to incompetent partners, and wound up as just another icicle in the Scotia sea.

So, unfortunately, Johann was headed for the same sea, fated to receive the slow ablation that was the bane of his race. Better to have been a mountain, he thought. Well, no, he reconsidered. Mountains had it just as bad. Come to think of it, Johann had eroded a mountain or two in his time. And where were such geographies now? Buried a mile thick under glaciers, that’s where!

But this thought, unlike so many times before, failed to raise his spirits. Well, grass, maybe, he decided. Except grass was munched on by just about everybody. And it died when it got cold, or at the very least turned an unwholesome shade of yellow six months out of the year. All in all glaciers were no more permanent or steadfast than any other feature on the big blue planet.

It could have been the heat getting to him but Johann decided this was comforting, in a doomed sort of way.

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