Over the Icy Plains

July 3, 2013
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A big, booming voice on the speakers of our airplane announced that we were approaching our destination. Murmurs of excitement filled the air, and I felt my own heartbeat begin to accelerate with anticipation.
When we finally arrived at the bottom of the world, I secretly wondered whether this continent – which was deemed by people as spectacular – had been an exaggerated wonder. All I could see beneath the thin barrier of scudding clouds were spots of white amongst the big blue – a few blemishes on the skin of the ocean. Where was this vast and powerful continent of ice that we had been promised?
As the seeping wisps of clouds parted and revealed what I had come all this way for, my eyes opened with wonder and shock, and I leant forward as if I were being pulled by a magnetic force. No, Antarctica’s magnificence had not been exaggerated in the slightest, but understated.
The colour of the water was unlike any clarity I’d ever seen before. Even the cerulean of a cloudless summer sky could not compare to the sapphire blue that was the Antarctic Ocean.
As for the ice, it was of utter perfection. Sculpted in nature’s untainted marble was the faultlessness that was each ice tower, with veins of water that ran between them. I wondered whether white was considered the epitome of purity based on this unforgiving land’s own unspoiled immaculacy. It seemed so untouched by mankind, so foreign and mysterious in its pristine exquisiteness. I wondered what it would be like to return home and compare it to the concrete jungles that towered over me.
On the arctic plains, shadows of the looming clouds were cast, and the pearly-grey patches danced across the ice. Every now and then a splash of brown caught the corner of my eye and a rock face would come into view, protruding from the ground and capped in snow.
As we flew further into the heart of Antarctica, we distanced ourselves from the glistening blue and were surrounded by white. But it was not merely a large coverage of white nothingness. The only way to describe it would be to say it looked as if God had taken a knife and very carefully carved slight, random patterns and lines onto the ice – engravings that never seemed to have an end, as they attached to one another. They were not deep enough to cut through, yet were deep enough to give off a sickly blue visage – veins in the ice. Tall and mighty glaciers stood gleaming amidst God’s engravings. It was all very interesting to see how the environment had created such strange formations. It caused me to consider the formations mankind had torn down to create our buildings.
This display of what beauty nature could produce was close to unreachable by mankind; such a harsh climate would flip a coin to decide whether the ground beneath your feet would break or not. And I was flying over it, staring out the window of a plane and pressing my fingertips against the glass as I vowed to one day see its icy splendour up close.

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