Today, on Erev Yom Kippur, the most solemn day for observant Jews, we are urged to search inside ourselves, to seek out and contemplate the questions that define us and our path forward: “How have I fallen short this past year?” “How can I best use my life for the good of the world?” And, “You’re getting on an airplane for South America in less than 24 hours – why haven’t you even started packing?!?”
Yeah. I’m going to spend most of Yom Kippur on a plane headed for Chile, to meet up with the icebreaker in Valparaiso and do my ninja-coder-of-the-high-seas-thing during her southbound transit to home port in Punta Arenas.
It’s a short cruise, and we’re not even going anywhere near Antarctica (I don’t think we’re even leaving Chilean waters). But it’s an important gig: it’ll be the first live run of the shipboard science code I’ve been working on for – criminy – nearly two years now.
So there may be a fun post from Valparaíso and one or two from the transit itself, but don’t expect any pictures of penguins or icebergs. Especially not icebergs. If we see icebergs it means that either something’s gone horribly wrong with the ship’s navigation or Earth’s global climate. Oh, wait…
Which turns us back to the beginning of the post: things to contemplate as we look ahead to the new year. To those of you fasting, I wish you an easy fast and g’mar hatimah tovah. To us all contemplating this uncertain future we share, I wish clarity and courage, and offer the words of Mary Oliver, who I turn to for strength:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
– The Summer Day