|File pic: Howard's tent on the ice while training in New Zealand|
Just 7km traveled today....
Elevation: 2 678. What a coincidence - exactly the same as yesterday. Well I guess I haven't moved far, but still! Maybe a lucky sign!
Gee, that 'prison' I spoke about yesterday got decidedly smaller today! What a difference a day makes: It was REALLY a perfect evening, but early hours of the morning that all started to change with my first real strongish , northerly tailwind. It was quite strange having the tent facing the 'wrong' way and the wind hitting the entrance and cooking vestibule. It made for much colder tent life. So from being worried about the night being too hot, I was suddenly scrambling for all zippers to close all gaps, including my sleeping bag! The unpredictability of the adventure, in 'your' world you would have know about the exact time of the weather change days in advance! Information, hey, good or bad? Neither, I guess, just different prison rooms have different stimulations!
Even with all this change, and the possibility of bad traversing terrain again, I woke up feeling unusually unperturbed about the details, but knowing somehow "all will be good today."
There had been a dusting of snow, so it wasn't a debate about skis or walking. Skis on, and I was moving 10 min earlier than usual. The terrain (and my mind) were amazing, I was at one with the conditions and soon gliding along at high speeds. This fuelled such a positive 'zone', once again I felt invincible and the Pole seemed well within reach. I did warn myself that a lot can change in 10 hours, and I did notice that I was skiing towards a dark grey clouded horizon. The 1hr navigation check showed a very satisfying 3.6 km, and above all I was reveling in the flat ski friendly terrain.
Well in the next hour visibility went to zero and the all-too-familiar three-dimensional dull white room encapsulated me, with a loss of spatial orientation. On top of that it started lightly snowing! Gee, I was disappointed, as I was so in the groove I even surprised myself with how well I was going with minimal visibility. But zero was time to stop! As it had deteriorated I'd thought of my options, and reluctantly opted for the only one: Set up tent, and wait for things to improve.... It would be a waste struggling out there, using a huge amount of energy (food!) fighting the cold, slipping and falling not going very far.
So that's where I am... Snuggled up in my tent, with the wind roaring by, snow rasping against the tent sporadically, and no place to go...
This time it's not like the indulgence of the rest day... It feels very different: I'm frustrated, as I REALLY want to be moving closer to my goal, and having been here for 6 hours already, with ABSOLUTELY no change in the weather, thoughts of being stuck here 'for days' are not very attractive, to put it mildly. With just 8 days of food, I can't be wasting it sitting in my tent, so it's about tea, and left-over nuts rather than excessive gluttony. Inside the tent is probably the coldest it's been, even though just before coming inside the thermometer said -23C. It's probably the wind forcing itself into every little crack. Oh well, nothing a hot cup of tea and a warm sleeping bag can't solve....
This is a challenging time, but I keep on stoking the positive fires, and look to the time when I'll be set free, and be fast skiing to the Pole again... 30 km/d and 6 days I'm there! Please Mr Prison Warder let me out soon, I've learnt the lesson you wanted to teach me, so why can't I go free....?
I hope you 'enjoyed' yesterday's thoughts on Freedom, etc. I always worry that in short, limited-interaction, mass communications, messages are missed, or intent wrongly assumed. And lastly, I'm very aware that nothing comes for 'free' (excuse the pun!) there is a cost to Freedom: It's largely in the 'Belonging' area, but interestingly I've found that the more I grow through experiencing freedom and the micro prisons adventure, the less 'desperate' I am to belong JUST to belong, and not feel alone or lonely. So for me, alongside Freedom, belonging and how we manage it is the second prong of an amazing tripod of life. The 3rd leg being 'Who we are, our REAL identity vs who we project who we are. These extreme adventures, naked in front of Nature, like I am now, leave me no place to hide as to who I REALLY am - my fears, my insecurities, my courage, my beliefs, and relationships, all at a very soul level... And I'd love to share thoughts with many of you who have your own 'life system' that works for you in your life. All fascinating stuff...
Well, for me at least! Don't worry, I'll be back focused on looooong sled pulling days soon!
Enjoy your access to the pleasurable excesses of your seemingly boundaryless lives, from this perspective!