Antarctica: Morning Has Broken

“Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s re-creation of the new day…”

© Eleanor Farjeon

Our wake up announcement will come at 6:00. Enough time to fight off Mr. Sandman, don layer after layer of windproof and waterproof, and muster to the zodiacs by 6:30.

But my morning begins much earlier. “Morning” in name only, as the sun never really sets this far into the southern latitudes. I race to get dressed, grab my camera, and run up to Deck 5.

As with the day before, and the day before that, I find that I have the glass-enclosed Panorama Lounge, and the Antarctic morning, all to myself.

I rush to the window. Shades of gray. I look down and see a gray sea. I look up and see a gray sky. And I look ahead and can barely make out the hint of a gray iceberg in the distance.

The color of sadness just about anywhere. Anywhere but here.

For I know this cold and gray holds life. On the ice. Beneath the sea. In the blustery wind above.

This cold and gray holds power. Inhospitable. Uninhabitable. A backdrop where one cannot help but feel so small in the grand scheme. And so blessed to be a part of it all.

And this cold and gray reminds me that I am an adventurer, that I have crossed far past the boundary line that most never imagine or dare to cross. And way beyond the possibilities I ever dreamt for myself.

I step outside, the wind is frigid and fierce. I try to steady myself against the railing, raise my camera to my eye and wonder if I can capture in the frame what I see in this cold and gray: Nothing. And everything.

In a few minutes everyone will be awake. Hopefully the wind will die down just enough so our zodiac ride won’t be canceled, and the sun will peek out just enough to make for some good photographs.

But for now, in my last moments of quietude, I can’t possibly imagine a better view in this early hour than these icy shades of gray.

Every morning is a beautiful morning in Antarctica.

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