Questions for Pablo at the Pole – Round Two

Hi all,

It’s my day off (again), so it’s time for round two of “Questions for Pablo at the Pole“! I’ll tackle a couple of the easy ones first:

“What color do you miss the most?”Titian, Florence
I’ve only been on the ice for a couple of weeks, so I think I’m going to have to revisit this again throughout the season. The funny thing is that, unless I’m thinking about it, I don’t actually miss colors – there’s just “what’s there”. I don’t remember if I related this before, but among the tons of brilliant advice Beth gave me when I was preparing to come down here was a tidbit on getting used to the landscape:

Your first week is going to be rough: “Oh god, they’ve put me in hell. it’s flat, barren, featureless and unbelievably cold. And I can’t walk away.” But after a week or two, once your hands and lips stop cracking and bleeding [wait – what?!?], you’ll start seeing beauty in the the shades of light, the ice crystals, the sundogs. And you’ll say “Hey – come out and look at this amazing cloud!” And it’ll all seem so rich and varied. Then, when you come off the ice and get off the plane in New Zealand, your head will explode.

Anyhow, when I think about the colors that I yearn for a bit, it’s probably deep red and bright yellow. I’ve got my little red buddha on the shelf in my room, but other than that, most “red” things here (like Big Red) are really orange. The sort of screaming find-me-in-a-blizzard orange that you’d expect to be pretty useful. Not so much the deep, warm red.

Speaking of reds and yellows, we had locally-grown tomatoes here a couple of days ago. Jocelyn, who runs the greenhouse, brought a small bowl of yellowish, reddish, greenish cherry tomatoes up to the galley for us to add to the salad when the previous load of freshies came in. Opinion was mixed – some folks complained “Eh, they don’t look very ripe.” Yes, they weren’t the sweetest, ripest tomatoes I’d ever had, but I’m pretty sure they were the most expensive (remember – costs about $30/gallon to produce water here, plus all the jet fuel for generators to run the grow lights). So while I don’t think this is what the whole “Eat locally-produced food” movement had in mind, they were tart and tasty and fresh off the vine, and I savored every one of them that I allowed myself to take.

“During the South Pole summer season, do you ever see the moon?”Devon, Palo Alto, CA

Just saw it for the first time last night, a half moon, waxing, I think. By “night”, of course, I mean it still looked like mid-afternoon, even though it was 10pm. I’m assuming the wax/wane shapes are reversed here in the southern hemisphere, and I’m curious whether the moon will dip below the horizon when it’s full. I mean – if full means it’s directly opposite the sun, and the sun is above the horizon, I figure the moon would have to be below the horizon. Right? But we’ll see.

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