Antarctica: My Funny Valentine

My funny Valentine
Sweet comic Valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Unphotographable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art…

© Rodgers & Hart

As if on cue, the Chamber of Commerce welcoming committee greets us as we come ashore. Tuxedoed ambassadors of the ice.

We diligently obey the “stay 5 metres away” rule, while secretly hoping that the “but it’s okay if they approach you” loophole comes into play. And they oblige. With their Charlie Chaplin waddle and bumbling pratfalls, we can’t help but smile.

The comedy ensues as they strut, single file, to the water’s edge. “After you.” “No, after YOU.” Haven’t I seen this before in a Laurel and Hardy routine? After much hesitation, one by one they belly flop into the sea. More smiles and laughs.

But within seconds, their awkwardness transforms into grace and agility, swiftly porpoising through the water. We are soberly reminded that we are witnessing not silly cartoon characters, but rather beautiful and sleek swimming birds, searching for food and hoping to evade their ocean predators.

Yet only for a second are we reminded. Because we hear a high pitched squawk behind us. And we turn around to see another wind-up plush toy playing for our laughter. And stealing our hearts.

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