Feb. 19, 2014. 8′ WC -4′

It’s snowing.  Damn.

Aside from the fact that the TCN we are working on has mellowed out, and is co-operating with us now, I am bummed out.

The snow is beautiful and the winds are gentle.  Even the low hanging clouds that swirl in eddies around the tops of the hills nearby are amazing to watch.  I am back and forth between warehouses a lot this evening putting away all of the bits and pieces that have come out of our TCN.  I have an unusually clear view of some beauty that eludes my ability to describe.  And all of it is mesmerizing to watch.  But it’s not what I want to see.

Tonight at 1:20 am the sun will set for the first time since I have arrived here ten weeks ago, and I’m going to miss it.  So is everyone.  The clouds extend beyond the horizon and the long golden rays of sunlight we have been enchanted witness to all week are gone.  We have a picture perfect soft falling snow.  The kind of day you would love to go for a walk.  Forget the shoveling and the icy roads or the slow traffic…just experience the childlike bewilderment of catching snowflakes on your tongue.  I have been told I should enjoy this moment because it never happens here.

McMurdo sits on the coast itself and the interaction of wave and water generates some vicious storms, as you witnessed during the Maersk Illinois departure photos.  It is uncommon to see the snow fall to the ground, as it is most often flying horizontally at wind speeds that turn it into sandblasting on your skin.  I  can be happy that things are calm tonight, but I still feel a sense of cosmic betrayal that I will miss this once in a life time moment that I have been looking forward to for – literally – months.

I know there will be more sunsets before it is gone completely for the true Austral Winter, but there is something special about “the first time” something happens.  I will have to console myself with the moment that I see it for the first time:  But it’s really not the same.  It’s sorta like watching the Super Bowl during  the repeat because it’s convenient, rather than loosing sleep by getting up in the middle of the night to watch it live.  Ew…now when I think of it in those terms, maybe I should be glad I’m gonna miss it.  Just sayin’.

This does bring back a cool memory though. Comet Kohoutek made a pass through our neighborhood in 1973.  I remember my Dad waking us up to see it.  That in itself was unusual because as father to 10, he most often wanted us to be sleeping at 4am when he woke up to go to work.  But this was special.  It was supposed to be the biggest show in the night sky as the comet should be sloughing off a large amount of ice crystals as it passed close to our sun.  Which it did:  On it’s approach to the sun when Earth was still far away from it’s orbital path.  By the time it made it’s way ’round to us and the big show, the pyrotechnics were over.  Sigh…that made me think of the last Super Bowl too.

Anyway, what I’m slowly getting at is this.  There are so many things we as humans take for granted in our daily lives, like sunsets and flowers by the side of the road, or birds singing in the trees.  None of those are here in Antarctica. (Well, the Penguins do make some noise, but not often. It really isn’t a pleasant sound either.  Sorta like Brittany Spear’s voice without Auto tune.)

I will get some photos of tomorrows sunset.  And I’ll enjoy it while it happens,  but I still feel a little jilted.  I guess I’ll just go out and catch snowflakes for a while.

Tim

 

 

 

 

 

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