30 October, 2006 Rothera
October, the month of spring. The waiting hours creep silently across the shining skies. There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings and only icicles weep tears. Is it so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun. To have lived light in the spring, to have loved, to have thought, to have done.
In October Petrels flirt with the breeze and Gulls carve their signature with authority. New generations of seals slowly emerge adorning the island locked in the sanctuary of ice. Ragged and naive crowned with the Antarctic sky they dream of oceans deep and pure. Soon the ice will fade releasing the sea to once again grow and reap a welcomed harvest. Whales soon to grace our shores with their melancholy symphonies. Penguins amuse and amaze, tic, toc, they waddle transforming their autonomous stumbling into overtures of precision and prose within the crisp crystal waters of our coast.
The synchronous buzz of distant engines and base preparation is upon us. As October sees the return of aircraft to Adelaide Island. Activating the summer season and signifying an end, in body and mind to the wintering period. Excitement permeates the base as thoughts of long awaited treasures are imminent. Gifts and news from friends and loved ones. Pockets of privacy spring about base as letters are embraced. Once again familiar handwriting sooths and lifts with infant comfort.
For me my winters are over. No more shall I gaze at pearlescent skies and fiery clouds. Lose myself in the tranquillity of frozen silence or fight for breath in the ice-cold grasp of bitter winds. No more shall I stand triumphant on summits. Scream in agony as my blood thaws fingers and toes. No more shall I rest my weary head on glaciers. Or count satellites as they spin in the jewel-encrusted sky. No more shall the mirages tease and distort. No more shall the baron Piedmonts be my highway to adventure. No more shall the bright moon light my path nor storms keep me at bay, no more.
When my time comes to pass for over 900 days I have lived on this wondrous continent. I’ve made it my home, my playground, my life through days of excitement and days of fatigue. I’ve seen the solitary vastness of ice shelves. The unsettled paths of crevasse fields, and the piercing summits of mountains. My perspective realigned through colleagues and friends that have shared my time. But as one chapter comes to an end, another begins as my thoughts turn to the spherical journey home through the turbulent Southern Ocean and across the Atlantic to those I left behind so long ago and soon to be reunited with. Especially my beloved daughter, Hania, who for each and every day that passed has never been far from my thoughts. For when your play turns to work and your smiles turn to tears, soon, once again I’ll be by your side.
Love Dad x
Written and Illustrated by Julian Klepacki.