This is is the opening chapter of a novel, conceived while working on The Mysteries, begun while directing Gertrude Stein in Vermont, developed and first performed at Cove Park Artists' Centre in Scotland.
The longest of the dozen or so opera libretti I've written. Commissioned by the Garden Venture of the Royal Opera House in 1993.
Walker sets out over the ice on his way to the North Pole. He follows the arctic terns, but they are heading south. The seal guides him and offers him fish, but he wants to walk alone. He follows the pole star, but the pole star is not the pole. He crosses the thinning ice, but slips into the crevasse. The bear saves him and offers him boots, but he wants to walk alone. Beyond the storm he sees the northern lights and meets the tern again.