“Strangely enough, it all turns out well…”

Last night I heard the frogs again. Sure, there was still frost on the pasture this morning, but when you start hearing the frogs at night, you know that spring has planted her flag and will not be denied.

The frogs are her heralds, and within a week the nighttime chorus will be deafening.

But I’m not going to get to hear them this time around. Dawn found me south and east bound, and frankly, surprised to be. Just over a week ago, I was putting the final touches on the system I was planning/hoping/planning/hoping to install at Palmer Station when the Laurence M. Gould made port there at the end of this month. Just under a week ago, that tickle in the back of my throat scuttled those plans/hopes/plans/hopes when a PCR test revealed that I’d finally failed to dodge the COVID bullet, and at the worst possible time. Just under 24 hours ago, after spending the intervening week flat on my back, chugging coconut water, electrolytes and chicken soup, I got the call that maybe it wasn’t at the worst possible time. I’d recovered quickly enough that I was cleared for duty – could I still make the plane? Tomorrow morning?

The answer, regardless of the circumstances, is always Yes. As I wrote last month the answer is always Yes.

Besides, as I wrote last month, I’ve wanted this Palmer Station gig for years. The alignment of needs and opportunities that landed me that slot on the LM Gould aren’t likely to come around again before my “use by” date is in the rear view mirror.

Used to take a lot more room to pack up a rack of servers…

A videoconference with my doctor, some back and forth with my manager, and I was scrambling to batten down the hatches, make the shuttle reservation, do laundry, grab the relevant documents and devices and stuff everything into my go-to rolling duffel (I think there’s something vaguely miraculous about that duffel. No matter how lightly I try to pack, or conversely how unreasonably large a load I need to wedge into it, it always ends up precisely full, and always just two or three feathers shy of the airlines’ 50 pound limit.) It was after the bags were zipped and weighed and at the door last night that I stepped outside to catch my breath in the darkness, and heard the frogs.

This morning, as dawn glinted off he frost on the pastures, I was already well on my way south. SeaTac. DFW in my sights, then Santiago, Punta Arenas. And, if the fates continue to be merciful, Palmer Station. The whole thing constantly evokes Stoppard’s timeless observations in “Shakespeare in Love“:

“The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. Believe me, to be closed by the plague is a bagatelle in the ups and downs of owning a theatre.”

“So what do we do?”

“Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.”


“I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

Of course, it’s not a mystery – there are a crazy number of people doing all they can to keep the US Antarctic Program moving, as smoothly as possible, in the right direction. The unseen complexity is mind-boggling, and it would be unkind to those who’ve put long, long hours into making it happen (thank you SW, AS, SS and JJ!) to give my part in it anything but my best. So I’m on my way – I’m sure the frogs will be fine without me.

12 responses to ““Strangely enough, it all turns out well…”

  1. I’ve always heard about a frog in one’s throat but not much about the throat in the frog. I guess their message to you was the call of the wild. Have a great adventure and be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yahoo!!! We couldn’t be more thrilled that this life dream of yours that was seemingly lost a week ago, has been reclaimed. Your news today is sending huge waves of emotional happiness for you throughout my whole self. I don’t quite understand rare feelings like this, but they’re there. Safe travels. — S


    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Frogs will be here upon your return. A Leap on St. Patrick’s day ☘️ is a sign of Good Luck!
    I’m so excited for you and the fact you are hand carrying a letter to Angela! ♥️
    Stay Healthy, be safe and no doubt your positive energy is going to help.


  4. Beautifully written as usual for your silver tongue. Or is it silver pencil, or silver keyboard? Whatever, this was one of your better posts lately. Sorry you had to experience Covid, but glad it wasn’t a more serious infection and that “it all turns out well”. Travel safely, do great things with software and marvel at the stark beauty at the end of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome! I’ve just returned from that region… two weeks in South Georgia and the Falklands, anyway, not quite Palmer Station but I’ve caught the “bug” so it will soon be on my go-to list. Enjoy your trip!


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