Antarctic Night

The Antarctic winter has a queer replenishment and dignity of its own. Nowhere on earth will you see anything lovelier than the Ross Ice Barrier by moonlight. Here you felt the beauty and repose of the night, it’s immensity and movement, whole armies of stars and wheeling constellations, and the tidal movements of the aurora, now lying like a pale ocean river of light through the zenith, now bursting into insane displays, becoming searchlights, puckering and flying curtains, growing rays. And you could glance up from the wastes of the Barrier and see taking shape, in misty showers of ice crystals, the magical refraction phenomena of the moon – halos, paraselenae (moon dogs) and, rarest of all, the corona, with the moon a polished ancient silver coin framed between concentric rings of colour, pale blues and greens and smoking reds.

When you look upon such things there comes surging an awareness of the dignity of the earth, of the unaccountable importance of being alive, and the thought comes out of nowhere that unhappiness arises not so much from lacking as from having too much.

Charles J.V. Murphy  in Antarctic Night by Admiral Richard E. Byrd

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