It's been a week of harsh weather, here. It all blew in on Sunday, and since then there's been no visibility, 30 knot winds, and a lot of shut-in people looking for things to do. I happened to have plenty of things to do, so I was actually relieved to be excused from field trips. I've only got one or two trips left before relief, anyway. Assuming relief happens, of course.
Anyway, the wind finally died down today, and we could see again. I used the opportunity to ski out to the CASlab (Clean Air Sector; a lab outside the base where vehicles can't go within a km, and delicate instruments measure...clean air, I guess).
After a brief chat with Neil, who runs the lonely lab, I wandered back to base and checked that my Linear Motion Sensor setup was, in fact, Sensing Linear Motion. And then I had a moment.
I haven't been too poetic in this blog, to date. Yes, Antarctica is beautiful. Some people's blogs wax lyrical regarding the vast emptiness of the place, and of course one can gaze in beauty at the penguins, and so on. I prefer to talk about the Onion, and flatulence, and the like. But as I left the linear motion sensor to go back to the main building for supper, events conspired to create the magical moment.
Usually, I plan ahead on my iPod to get some good lively music going when I ski - some Zeppelin, Great Big Sea, even Kim Mitchell in odd moments. But at this time, Rachmaninoff's Prelude in F was playing. I was too close to the building to bother fishing out the iPod to change it. Don't really know why it was on there to begin with - two friends of mine have raved about Rachmaninoff in the past, so I added it (Blumenthal, Devastator...I'm looking at you).
Then, a solitary beam of sunlight pierced the clouds to light up the ice cliffs far off on the horizon. And, best of all, a storm petrel (a black swallow-like bird, rare at Halley) came by and swooped around in circles around me and some nearby snowmobiles for a few minutes. And it cavorted and sweeped in time with the music. I just stood there and soaked it in - it was surreal, and beautiful. If I only had my camera!
But then it was over - the petrel left, Weird Al Yankovic came on next on the iPod, and I walked into the main building to smell my dinner - brussel sprouts. Reality asserted itself in the most brutal way possible!