I left Juneau that afternoon to go into the Taku, one of the world’s great wildernesses; four and a half million acres of wild land and four a half million years of wild time. We rafted down the Taku River watershed, and I am writing this now, seven days later, from a valleyside high above the Inklin.
In the raft-days behind me were volcanic peaks echoing with thunder; grassy pastures zip-ping with cicadas; pastures where roses, sage, alpine straw-berries and juniper, with foggy-purple berries and a smell of sweet extravagance, bloomed; and the river ran through box-canyons of gargantuan Homeric water which hurls rafts against cliffs and sucks them round whirlpools. In the raft-days ahead will come the mystery of a massive limestone mountain with underground streams; a sixteen-hundred-foot waterfall that runs so fast and falls so slow; and finally the ancient glaciers, place of blue ice and—inexplicably—ladybugs.
Red is, symbolically, the color of mortality; blood of life and of death: blue, the color of eternity. Here in this time-diversity, they are found side by side. The blue of a glacier, the red of an—inexplicable—ladybug. Nothing is older than the blue glacier, ten thousand years in the making, ten thousand years in the unmelting. Nothing is younger than the bright red button of a ladybug hatched at the beginning of this sentence: here is the chasmic grandeur of wild time—a ladybug’s little red-letter day tickling for a minute the glacial blue ice of eternity.
—Jay Griffiths, A Sideways Look At Time