Today is the equinox, autumnal or vernal, depending on which hemisphere you have found yourself in. Equinox meaning equal time where the sun is above and below the horizon. The sun makes the crossing from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere and thereby denotes a new season for both. One of my favorite days of the year, ever since learning the wonders of celestial geometry during my semester with Sea Education Association more than ten years ago.
My equinox was spent working on our solar projects – one project of the scientists, one for the South Pole. (The sun rises at the pole today, having set six months ago. It must be a happy day for the Polies!) After work, a run on the treadmill, a dinner with friends and then some work on the ol’ computer.
On my way back to my dorm (building #201), from building 155, I saw the equinox sky, a glow behind the Royal Society Mountains from the sun who is taking it’s last few rounds behind the mountains. By mid October it will be circling above the horizon for four months. I decided to walk down to the Chapel to get a better look at the twilight over the mountains and McMurdo Sound and ended up going inside the Chapel as today had been -40 degrees with a -73 degree wind-chill.
The Chapel was dark and quiet, so I went in and walked up on the raised part to look out the window. It was beautiful. Twilight coming through the stained glass of the Chapel’s main window overlooking the sound. I stood there for a while, alone in the dark, looking out over the silhouette of the mountains.
Deciding it was time to leave I couldn’t help but sit down at the old piano, not quite in tune, but a million times better than the plug in keyboard and played through Moonlight Sonata, which I can finally play by memory. So wonderful to have a piano here. With my back to the twilight and stain glass but facing the twilight lit wooden panels above the piano, I played my favorite song, the one that always reminds me of lying under our piano at home, while Dad plays it just before bedtime.
The light was too beautiful to leave so I went back to the window, but seeing the industrial buildings that took away from the mountains and light, I grabbed a stacked chair and sat it down in the middle of the small room…one chair, one person, a dark chapel, and the beauty of an equinox twilight in Antarctica. I had my headphones on and was listening to a Pearl Jam mix and I started to sing softly with the music. It was good to sing, in a world where there is not much personal time or space, how wonderful to have a chapel to oneself, to sing and sing. It didn’t take too long before I was singing as one sings when one hasn’t in a month. It was nice. I often forget how much I need to do that. It was then onto some new Chadwick Stokes songs before it was time to leave. Singing the harmonies and then along with Chad, hearing the voice closest to mine in my ears. It was nice. Almost felt like I could touch those I love who are not here with me. If I could not touch them, they have touched me.
Got to go to sleep now. It’s past my bedtime. Just wanted to share a bit of my day.
McMurdo Webcam: http://www.usap.gov/videoclipsandmaps/mcmwebcam.cfm