Traveling so much over the past 5 years, I’ve found that small particular moments, little things that make up the day-to-day life of all the places I’ve been, are what people tend to cling onto while they’re experiencing these amazing places I’ve been to. Looking back, little details and the most modest creature comforts are what have made this winter not just bearable, it’s made it incredible.
Many people have brought little trinkets from home that make their meager living arrangements feel a little more like home. They’ve also decorated their rooms to reflect their personality. We had a “Tour of Homes” event at the start of winter to showcase all of this and I found it incredible at how little you need to be able to make your living space unique. One person brought stick-on wall tape shaped like trees so she could have a sense that she was sitting under her trees back home. Another person pieced together dozens of framed pictures and christmas lights to make her room feel like an art gallery. For me, a few pictures of my nieces and nephews along with certain items I use on a daily basis are what I’ve held onto to remind me of my home.
When winter just started, I have to admit that I felt a great anxiety about how I was going to handle the impending darkness for so many months at a time. If any of my friends know me, I’m usually an especially even-keeled guy to be around so for something to fluster me so much that it gives me any sense of anxiety is very uncomfortable to me. There’s only been one other time that I’ve felt this anxious feeling over the looming unknown future and I had to struggle to keep a calm demeanor back then. This time, it was much easier.
The constant darkness of winter can feel daunting but from the lyrics of an incredible band that you’re undoubtedly familiar with, a song that describes the bond that many of us have formed working and living on this rock, and my constant (mostly cringe-worthy) singing in the confines of the McMurdo kitchen:
“What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends”.
The Beatles knew how to get out of the darkness long before I even had any kind of inkling desire to come down to McMurdo in Antarctica. As the darkness is waining for the McMurdo society, a lot of us are coming out of a slump. The seemingly forever-vigil of the twinkling stars in the sky over the past few months are starting to be replaced with blue skies and beautiful nacreous clouds that streak the sky like a magnificent painting. As the sun has finally peaked over the hills that surround our community, I find it increasingly difficult to be stuck inside the galley cooking all day. My time in the sun will come, though.