Alex writes: It has been a week since we saw our last sunset. I took some time out to enjoy and preserve this special time.
From now on things are going to be different. It will be more of a challenge trying to maintain a normal body clock.
I have been lucky to have witnessed spectacular sunsets around the world, from Pokhara lake in the Himalayas to Caribbean sunsets worthy of postcards.
I took a stroll and stood outside for a while to soak up the last rays.
Imagine for a moment, travelling long haul in a passenger airplane to a distant warm island – perhaps Bermuda or Barbados. After many hours in an economy class seat, you step outside and feel the warm breeze but more importantly, you feel warmed to the bone by the sheer strength of the Sun’s rays. I closed my eyes and tried to ‘save’ the memory and feeling as a file on the desktop background of my mind.
It was beautiful as the sun left, dissolving into the horizon. I thought to myself, this is the closest you can come to witnessing the end of time… an apocalypse, right now.
That night, looking through the frozen window of my bedroom, I drew the shutter and pondered Shakespeare who wrote: “Men shut their doors against a setting sun.” Down here is no exception, we have to or we would literally freeze to death.
On my last day of work before leaving to Concordia, I met professor David Warrell in Oxford who has travelled extensively and knows the world better than anyone else I know. Across the hospital canteen table, he sat stern and upright, looked me straight in the eye and said simply: “People actually go mad down in Antarctica you know.”
Dwelling on that thought, I tighten my grip on imaginary handle bars, as this roller-coaster ride reaches its peak… and is about to start its winding, treacherous descent.
Only 4 months of darkness. I remember the world record for the longest time spent on a roller-coaster ride: Richard Rodriguez spent almost 17 days on a roller-coaster.
If there really is light at the end of the tunnel, we can’t see it yet.