There are no words to describe the feelings that rose up when I stepped onto Antarctica. It was so vast, so unforgiving, so formidable that I was reduced to silence.
My first view of mountains of black rock stunned me. Huge, ice covered, monoliths outlining an equally black ocean.
We were less than 100 people in an immense landscape where seals, whales and penguins were at home. We were sojourners, passing through, attempting to understand their lives and their message.
From the time that we boarded the Island Sky, we were mostly beyond electronic communication. There are no cell towers in Antarctica. Satellite connection was rare. We were reduced to talking to each other.
By day two, I was glad that I was isolated from the rest of the world. No news, no crisis, no distractions, no one to interrupt the harsh but peaceful world we were observing.
Wrapped in our parkas, mittens, boots, hats and scarves, bundled like Randy in “A Christmas Story”, we found something we had not expected.
Freedom to concentrate on an area of the world that few have the privilege (or luck) to view in person.
Freedom to see and appreciate forms of life that, up until then, we thought of as “cute” or “exotic” or “strange”.
Freedom to see and absorb unbelievable beauty of stark panoramas.
Freedom to look inside and realize that your presence on this earth was severely reduced in the midst of such wonder.
The picture taken by Bruce Hampton at the beginning of this piece was originally named “bluebird”. It is now called “Freedom”.