Antonio Litterio sends us a haunting blog entry. Read the introductory note and turn the music up for the best experience:
INTRODUCTORY NOTE: Dear readers, here are some tips to intensify the reading experience. My letter is composed in three parts, just as Roberto Cacciapaglia’s wonderful music Fiamme. I recommend you read the first part listening to the most intense section of the music. If you are a fast reader, wait for the start of the slower, more emotional part of the before you continue reading. Wait for the pause in the music before reading the last few lines.
I recommend you follow this advice as I wrote it with this in mind.
By chance I came across our group photograph that was taken during the summer. I felt an emotion that inspired me to write this letter about my experience here.
What follows is very delicate. Seeing that photo again lots became quite clear to me, our change and the difference between a 'South Pole adventure' and 'experiencing an Antarctic winter'. In the eyes of those who are not with us it can be difficult to understand.
Much has changed since December, when Concordia was invaded by a myriad of people with whom we shared contact. Different times have crossed my eyes since then. December is depicted in that picture, our faces are charged with joy. Summer is the period of a thousand smiles, of amazement and frenzy. The novelties of seeing a first circular rainbow or of the midnight Sun add to the excitement. But already at that time, as a future winter crewmember, I could see the difference between the faces of the new arrivals and those who had already spent the winter here.
I looked at their faces, so different from mine and I wondered ... why? ... but I did not ask questions, perhaps out of fear, but also because I knew I would find out by myself.
Days have passed since our arrival and we convinced ourselves that it would always stay like it was in December and that our winter would also be a period of a thousand smiles. But slowly, as the months go by, this changed. With the departure of each plane that took people back, sadness descended on my face while the curiosity of the unknown increased as the last plane left... What would winter bring? What will it lead me to discover about Antarctica and about myself? Slowly time is providing me answers to these questions ... but because I have not yet reached the end of this experience they are incomplete, guidelines, opaque images that form a bigger picture that will only become clear in November.
Time passes quickly when it is not contained by clocks or calendars. What is time in this place? I do not know... I have a feeling that it does not exist as it is not even being recorded by the presence of light. There is no night and day here. But even if time does not exists it still passes by.
The expression of wonder on my face that accompanied me during the summer is now dormant under the weight of what winter is loading on my shoulders. Just as the wind sculpts the snow around us I am being sculpted by the winter. It is changing who I am, just as the absence of light plays with one’s perception of the infinite horizon.
We are slowly but surely becoming different people to what we were at the beginning of this adventure. But we have to be careful because even the perception of change is amplified. We change, but in the eyes of each one of us, these changes are like night and day. Can we be sure that we have actually changed or are we simply exposing what we really are?
Concordia is amazing, it awakens many questions within me, it is eager for answers, and it is granting me a way to find these answers.
Excuse me if I failed to convey what I would like to, but, believe me, even if everyone experiences Concordia in their own way, only those who experience the long Antarctic night can get a closer understanding. Maybe this letter will only serve as a memo to remind myself of this incredible experience when I return.