Gold, silver and the "A" factor
It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s cloudy and isolated. It’s Mawson.
These sorts of statements are usually associated with misery and glumness of the soul. Well, these are a constant down here in our little piece of Antarctica. Not only do we deal with the worst Mother Nature can throw at us, but also we deal with circumstances born of cosmic gremlins. This Antarctic season has been one of tireless flexibility both in program timelines and in mental resilience. We call this the ‘A factor’.
Many a flamboyant poem, equally colourful expressions and heated discussions have been laid before an audience of subzero believers. The A factor is an intangible force that plays a role in our everyday existence upon the ice. It’s a force that allows the creation of precious metals such as gold and silver. Silver in the lining that emanates from almost any anything you allow your mind to gaze upon, and gold from the people it subsequently creates.
Icy News (This week at Mawson) is one of many media that allow the outside world to gaze at a life lived at the bottom of our globe. It’s also an opportunity for those who call the ‘Red Shed’ home, to tell friends, loved ones and interested minds, just what life is like on a week to week basis.
One rarely talked about aspect of station life, is just what the vibe on station is like or what exactly everybody is talking about around the breakfast/smoko/lunch/dinner table.
In recent times the shifting goal posts and ramifications of unforeseen circumstances in the Australian Antarctic program have meant that gas bagging about due dates and chin wagging on the subject of Status Limbo has consumed much of our communal time.
So here we are as a station, looking at a home return in early May after an extended expedition in one of the harshest places on earth. Which brings me back to the silver and gold. Should my fellow Antarctic colleagues have not been so carefully selected, the ‘A factor’ may not have shown it’s alchemist qualities. At every turn I find a friend with a heart of gold, I find a landscape festooned with silver and beauty, and I find a supportive community back in Australia who through a medium such as the weekly station news and Facebook (@ Mawson Station Antarctica) make the experience of living and working in Antarctica a meaningful and rewarding one.
As the silvered winds abated and clouds of a white lustrous sheen moved offshore, a day was spent riding the waves of transcendence in a surreal environment that will never let go its grasp on my heart filled with memories of the good people of Mawson station.