grandie j and friends have been busy building a bunker fort
every digging tool, even the snow shovel, is in play
lots of work and fun ahead.
“hold the fort! i am coming!”
-william tecumseh sherman
a sidewalk homage to success
as the first spaceX crew dragon spacecraft “Endeavour” with a human crew
returns american nasa astronauts and best friends, bob and doug, to earth
“i don’t know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets.”
– john glenn, american astronaut
photo credit: nasa.gov (Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley- astronauts)
grandie j heads out
mohawk helmet on
with pokemon cards, water, hope
off on his bike to meet friends
at their ‘secret fort’
in the neighborhood.
after he makes his grand exit
grandie b, left behind, shares –
“we all have the same secret fort, but no one knows it.”
“well i know the secret places. and the nests in hedge and tree;
at what doors are friendly faces, in what hearts are thoughts of me.”
-henry wadsworth longfellow
Membership to one of the most exclusive clubs in the world takes place around a short red and white striped pole in Antarctica. Only those who endure an atmospheric difference of 300 degrees Fahrenheit are granted entry.
To join the elite 300 Club, residents at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, where on winter days the outside temperature dips below -100 degrees, must bare it all. It’s an odd tradition, one that comes with a high risk of frostbite in rather sensitive, traditionally clothed areas.
To join the exclusive group, the scientists must first spend time in the station’s 200-degree sauna. Once they’re fully cooked, they dash outside (at a brisk walk, because running is dangerous) wearing nothing but shoes and an optional neck gaiter to circle the ceremonial South Pole marker, which is hundreds of feet from the station. They then get back into the steamy sauna, which helps thaw their outsides while a bit of alcohol warms them up inside. Those who complete the challenge even earn a commemorative patch.
Though the thought of a naked scientist racing across the ice in dangerously cold temperatures to circle a pole may seem simply absurd, it’s actually a beloved ritual. The temperature only gets low enough a handful of days each year, giving the wacky tradition an almost ceremonial feel. Participants are usually cheered on by bystanders who use flashlights to guide them to the pole during the perpetual winter blackness.
The marker isn’t even the true location of the South Pole. Antarctica is blanketed by massive chunks of moving ice sheets that move about 30 feet each year. The ice’s inability to sit still makes pinpointing the world’s most southern spot with permanent precision impossible.
Finding and marking the accurate geographic South Pole is an annual (fully clothed) New Year’s Day tradition for those staying at the station. Every year since 1959, South Pole residents erect a new temporary marker at the spot and retire the old one into a display case inside the station. The ceremonial South Pole remains where it is, flanked by the flags, awaiting the next group of winter scientists hoping to join one of the world’s weirdest clubs.
“we take to the breeze, we go as we please.”
― E.B. White
story credits: Atlas obscura, kerry wolf
photo credits: martin wolf – national science foundation,
craig knott – national science foundation, alan light
headed off on a family fun river raft float trip
not real relaxing as expected
but lots of adventures/misadventures instead
so many laughs and we all survived
who could ask for anything more?
“rejoice as summer should…chase away sorrows by living.”
-melissa marr, darkest mercy
argo park, huron river, Ann Arbor, michigan, u.s.a. – summer 2019
in the midst of the polar vortex
a call goes out
a friend offers to drive us all to the movies
preston- holding down the fort at the theater
sells us popcorn, beverages, and tickets
menu offers a movie combo of cocktails and popcorn
the movie was great
the company was great
felt like we were skipping school
to just have a day of fun
we forgot about the polar vortex outside
we laughed and cried
we’ll never tell who chose which beverage:
coffee, tall soda, sippy-cup ‘o wine.
choose your own adventure.
everyone needs someone who will call them and say,
“get dressed, we’re going on an adventure.”