Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Luminous Continent

Satellite photo of Antarctica
Inhaling pure oxygen after a long hard climb up a steep and icy slope in Antarctica, I look down at our ship as a sailboat drifts by and kayaks glide in the glacial waters below. 

Imagining myself alone on this frozen planet, I realize how American explorer Admiral Richard Byrd felt when he wrote: This is the way the world will look to the last man when it dies.” 

Picturing the scene as my last view of a world about to be lost, I am struck by the silence. In this world of ice and snow, all is deceptively still, even as the vast ice sheet that is the Antarctic Peninsula I stand on keeps on moving.