Somewhere between the constant sun, the lively and interesting people down here, the nights that are never really nights, or perhaps the unique and constantly challenging environment we live in, I’ve really grown attached to this place. Obviously it’s an early love having only had 5 weeks to mature so far, but if not for a few people back home, I could see myself being one of the people who ends up a science tech who work at Palmer station then South Pole, and back and forth for 8 years, or someone who’s been down here for 18 season in countless number of positions working his way up, or even the person of 27 years who’s been coming back year after year. You have to remember that this program is 50 years old this year. The first people to winter over were in 1955-56 and among the crowd who is here this year is a person who arrived to deliver those people that year. In some way from my perspective it’s hard not to fall in love with a place like this as crazy and unique as it is. Sure you miss things from home, like the food, and the friends, the volleyball, and even stupid things like bugs, children, grass, smells, and especially for me dogs! Even without all these things, this place grows on you in the same minute ways that you would fall in love with people. The way the dorms are home, the way the work is peaceful as well as being stressful, the way the kitchen is always a good place to be (even if the food’s not getting any better), and especially the way you begin to learn the people around you and think of them as your extended family.
By the force of circumstance we have a breed of people who are friendly around here. Lots of people know lots of things and no one is what you think they are, until you sit and talk to them. Everyone has a thousand stories and at least a quarter of them are interesting and worth hearing again, and again, and again. As you listen to the story about a person who visited the last Titan V launch or what it was like to live here on this station 20 years ago, or what it was like to build the start of this station, it’s an odd sort of kinship that develops. You begin to merge with this history of this place and befriend your fellow icebounder. Maybe it won’t last, maybe it’ll last forever, but stuck in this time warp of a prison with a paycheck or this desert paradise, we are a group that love our existence and are kindred spirits.
Unless something drastic happens then there’s no way I cannot see myself returning for a few years to this place. Many stay till it’s time to move on, i.e. relationships change, work requirements move on, life needs a shift, or your just bored…and I think I’m just starting the ice era with my life. Barely started with search of this place and no where near the point where things have gotten boring or monotonous, I can see my self returning in various positions for a long while (hopefully with other kins from home). Perhaps not every year mind you, but for a while to come. This though is not a place to make predictions, it’s a place to flow with life, weather, and humanity; take each moment as they come and live as one feels…
P.S. The weather today is going to be a balmy +25 ambient today with only a variable 8-10 wind from the east and little cloud cover making it a beautiful day. I in fact wore my windbreaker today, and that coupled with the mud pit this place is turning into, it’s turning into a beautiful summer. 😉 BTW, I may also have more information for you soon about weather, both what we get down here and how we forecast it.