Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Urmston Conquers The Ross Ice Shelf ... 100 Times"

Out to Willy's Field to flag one lane of the road. Coming over the hill by the New Zealand Scott Base, there was the morning sun reflecting a path below on the ice all the way to the horizon. It was the first time that between me and the horizon was only ice. It was also strange, still, to have the morning sun in the north east. So beautiful it was. It reminded me of all those wonderful days on Crazy Horse sailing the ocean blue.

Being too far away from "town" to go back and forth for lunch, we had lunch out at the field. Eating in what's called a Jamesway, we had lunch with all the plowers and other workers who were out there. The other two GA's and I enjoyed good food and a nice hour and a half lunch break. We are normally scheduled to start work at 7:30, finishing at 5:30pm with an hour for lunch (12:00 - 1:00) and a 15 minute break in the morning (at 10:00) and the afternoon (3:00). As it's not so convienient to take breaks out on the ice shelf, they add the breaks onto the lunch break.

Flagging is one of my favorite assignments. No supervision, a straightforward task, we get to "get out of town", and the engineering part of my mind gets to figure out the most effiecient three person process to get the old flags out and the new flags in. I also love the act of planting the flag, as i suppose all explorers do. Though someday, I would like to plant a flag that actually stands for something and is somthing other than a bamboo pole with green fabric and reflective tape on it. I suppose though, I have to start somewhere.

Time is strange here. It is always daytime, we work six days a week and therefore it seems like we're always working. Though this doesn't bother me too much, as I love the job so far. The job is what I came down here to do. I'm used to the Outward Bound and NOLS courses were the job is your life for that week or month. And here it is the same. Being outside all day, under the smoking volcano, Mt. Erebus, getting paid (less than $7.00 per hour - and that's before taxes!), but nonetheless, actually getting paid! while also driving big trucks with tracks instead of wheels is absolutely something else. With every flag I planted today I explored the poles, the moon and the mountains.

To infinity...and...beyond!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ben,

    I love this final picture of you (uh, is it really you?) and the image of you laying flags like an explorer, on the road already travelled. But, like any good explorer, you know that most of the time, the path knows more than you.

    So glad you are enjoying the elements and the horizon, and yourself flying through the universe.

    tell us, is there never a time of darkness and of stars?

    Thinking of you.