empirical studies

I harvest images, the tangents of idea and emotion, draw them into a cohesive narrative and build my life. We all do. We translate the empirical into a story, take disconnected colors, sounds, smells, tastes, touch and interpret on the fly.
This is not new, this is not a philosophy unexplored. It is worth reminding, remembering. It is worth savoring – that we create our own image, our own perspective, our own universe.
I have seen the sun rise over a land that only bears witness to it once a year. I have felt the temperature of its long, long dark. I have known the mourning, the fierceness, and the beauty of its silence.
And yet, if I could see the world through your eyes…
Reality beckons again. The upcoming summer asks for pragmatism in the balance between sleep, dream, nostalgia, and the day to day living that I go through. The sun, when the storms break, now casts shadows on the walls and I stop to wave at my mirror on occasion.
Our lives are picking up steam as we complete turnover documents, end-of-season reports, and operating procedures. We spend our days finishing up our myriad winter tasks and beginning the long slog toward opening the station. In one month we will turn our home over entirely, leaving it to some veterans and a great deal of new folk. Somehow we’ll cram the collected knowledge of sixty people into three hundred fresh faces in the course of a week.
After that, it’s a short walk with bags on our shoulders toward a running plane. I’ll strap in and laugh at the antics of the people sitting across from me. With a slight bump and the stomach drop of take off, home will slide away into the fog of memory and into the present story of many others.
Growing distance to the sound of roaring engines will mask our voices but not our thoughts. In little over a month that slow move back into reality will start. In a little over a month I’ll again face the unknown of a world outside of my dysfunctional South Pole family. Answers will grow more complicated and the spectrum of grays will deepen. I’ll face a shrinking economy, politics as usual, the consternation of love, relearning home, and having to build a future.
I’ll see my second sunset in a year. I’ll breath deep the humid air of a New Zealand night and drink in the stars. I’ll return to Minnesota to wood-stove weather and the somber light of an overcast evening sky on fresh snow. In the sharpness of inhaling the cold air I’ll know memories of both here and there. No matter what I might face in that great unknown, my footsteps will carry the satisfaction that I feel in my life.

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