There's heaps I'd like to write this evening, but for starters, I'll post two pics - the first was taken on the way to Crary Lab half an hour ago, and the second, just a couple of minutes ago.
It's 9.17PM and I'm sitting in the lab's upstairs library where a wide sweep of windows overlooks the Sound and the distant Transantarctic mountains.
As you can see, the sky is up to high-jinks tonight.
It's been a full day - Sam finally made it back from Explorers Cove to McMurdo this morning, and the final two members of our team, Henry Kaiser (diver, film-maker, musician) and Molly Miller (geologist and co-Principal Investigator of G-093) flew in at lunchtime. Wonderful. Our team is now complete and I think we'll all similarly impatient to get out to New Harbor to begin our work 'proper.' If all goes according to plan, we should be ready to leave here on Thursday morning and head out into the field. If I'm to be really honest, I'd have to say that in terms of Antarctica, this big, densely-populated station is for me a place of transition rather than arrival.
There are some extraordinarily talented and dedicated people here, and it's undeniably the hub of the continent with its support systems, resources, research facilities and unique sense of community, but the Antarctica I really resonate with is the one that's 'away out there,' away from buildings and power lines and pubs and yoga classes (held in the chapel)... across the Sound and on the ragged, jagged edge of the Dry Valleys. It's there that silence and solitude wait and come forward to meet us.
By contrast, one of the gifts of this transition time is being in the company of like-minded Antarctica zealots. Time and again, I'm reminded of the potency of conversation. Our world is pretty much built on it. It has the power to transform ideas into actualities, visions into reality.
This evening over dinner, I met Lisa Blatt, a photographer and videographer from San Francisco who is one of this year's Artists & Writers residents. We discussed a shared fascination for desert spaces - talked about the ones we've been in and the ones we'd like to visit. Namibia came up, Pips, as a place we'd both love to visit - perhaps this could give rise to a three-way collaborative project some day - two more voices to add to yours in your important campaign against improperly managed Uranium mining? We could sound a bell... it could have an indefinite time-frame; others will hear the call.
And now, one more photograph of a quietening sky.