Down With the System
So, now that I've convinced Kenn that we should describe the trip in day-by-day order, here's a post that does just the opposite: here are some random trip photos, courtesy of Kim "the brat" Kaufman:I could not have imagined how colorful and lovely ice could be. On the first day of the trip, a woman admitted to me that she was somewhat disappoined that her husband had picked the Antarctic as their trip destination for this year, because it seemed to her that the place would be colorless: "I mean, it's all white for goodness sakes!" When I related this to Kenn, he was quiet for a long time. What he finally said to me, in his quiet wonderful way was so beautiful. He said, "A painter often will work with just a limited palette. That's what brings out the drama and the depth in each color."
One of the surprisingly challenging things about the trip was simply trying to have dinner. I would say that roughly 1/3 of the time, just as meals were being put on the table, someone would yell, "Whale!" Or, "Iceberg!" The entire dining room would clear out, and we'd all stand shivering together on the back deck, admiring what ever glorious "thing" happened to be drifting past. In this case is was not "just" an iceberg. It was an iceberg sprinkled with Adelie Penguins!
I spent several minutes kneeling on the ground studying this little Adelie Penguin chick. "He" had just been fed, and was happily napping in the sun. Occasionally, he would open his eyes and blink at me, but beyond that our interaction was pretty passive. At least physically. It was impossibly hard, but I resisted the overwhelming urge to reach out and softly stroke the top of his head. But, emotionally, this encounter with one little penguin had a profound impact on me. Although I've thought about it a lot, I still can't really say why. I mean, I know you can't see it in this picture, but beyond this one adorable individual, are thousands of Adelies, looking pretty much like exactly like this one. But, there was just something about "my" little penguin.
King Penguins are just the coolest thing that Mother Nature ever dreamed up! I gotta tell ya that a lot of the bird names out there, are, well, OUT THERE! I mean, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage Gleaner? Come on! But, whoever named the King Penguin nailed it! I have no idea whether he ever did, but I secretly hope that Elvis got to see a King Penguin at some point in his life. I know that if we could undertand Penguin-eese, a lot of the trumpeting going on in the King Penguin colony would sound like, "Thank you! Thank you very much!" In this photo, twin "Elvis" Penguins take a bow.