I was just meandering through the library and picked up a book I’d missed on my previous browsing forays – Tim Bowden’s book “Antarctica and back in sixty days”. Tim went to Antarctica in 1989 aboard the ship Icebird as a journalist on an AAD program not unlike the one I’ve enjoyed. I’m so tempted to steal this copy so I can read it right NOW, but I will restrain myself and find one back in Australia (or stay up all night).
Tim Bowden, well known ABC journo, is now also well known Antarctic veteran and has authored at least one other book on Antarctica apart from this one. I very much hope he won’t mind me reproducing his beautiful poem from the front of the book, under the dedication:
Fat droplets of warm rain
Slither slowly down my porthole winder
Where frozen fragments of ice
Whirled past wildly only days ago.
I am coming home.
Perhaps palm trees grew all the time
In Antarctica once.
Now patches of green algae stain
The underside of fragments of quartz rock.
A smear of lichen, patches of moss
Struggling for survival
Are an Antarctic forest.
I wondered if you would like it here,
But I could not think of you without pain –
Until the last iceberg ghosted past my porthole
And the first raindrops signalled I was coming home.
Icebird, Southern Ocean, 23 February 1989.
I’d like to dedicate that reproduction of Tim’s poem not only to my sweet Andi, who I can’t wait to see again, but to all the partners and families and friends of Antarctic expeditioners, (summerers, winterers and round trippers) who so generously allow us to follow our wild dreams and wait for us to come home.