Every Tuesday Vicki at I’d Rather Be At the Beach hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros, where we share the first paragraph or two of a book we are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Mine comes from On the Ganges by George Black.

On the Ganges

Month after month, snow blankets the great wall of rock that separates India from China and Tibet. It settles, compacts, changes its crystalline structure, freezes solid. The mountain peaks, the highest on earth, are covered with endless fields of ice. Sometimes people call them the Third Pole.

No one really knows how many glaciers there are in the Himalayas. Some say ten thousand; some say more. in our warming world, it isn’t as big as it used to be. Before I left New Delhi for the mountains, I went to see India’s best-known glaciologist, Syed Iqbal Hasnain. A jovial, white-haired, grandfatherly man, he told me that the glacier used to cover more than two hundred and fifty square kilometers—about a hundred square miles. “But now it’s breaking up in many places. You will see blocks of dead ice that are no longer connected to the main ice body.” He chuckled, which seemed odd for someone who was so alarmed by his own findings. But I’ve often found that maintaining a sense of humor is a common trait among scientists engaged in possibly hopeless endeavors.


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