Foremost among the emotional difficulties are loneliness and the feeling of being cut off from the world, especially sharing families' births, illnesses, and deaths, among many other events. What compensates for the isolation is the spectacular beauty of this most remote place on the planet. And Powell revels in the dazzling Southern lights, as well as the shimmering sunrises and glittering sunsets. Antarctic residents intensely appreciate outdoor light after four months, from the end of April on, with no sun, just total darkness.
That darkness comes regularly with hurricane force winds shaking the entire building. Most interesting, after this severe winter, almost beyond imagining with minus 80 degrees, summer will arrive with up to 5,000 researchers. They'll work hurriedly at small international bases where "nations get along better than anywhere else in the world." But those who winter in Antarctica resent the influx of people, speaking candidly about their feelings to Powell. He has so expertly excerpted from interviews with several of these extraordinary individuals that this comes as no surprise, though other observations are unexpectedly humorous and touching.
"Antarctica: A Year on Ice" takes us the closest we'll come to what feels like a visit to another planet, in some places most like Mars and, in others, snow and ice splendor reigns. On a dream trip, I visited Antarctica in its summer seven years ago and was overwhelmed. Powell has vividly filled in the rest of the year for all of us.
The St. Louis premiere of "Antarctica: A Year on Ice" is at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium from Thursday, July 17th through Tuesday, July 22nd at 7:30 each evening. For more information, you may call 314-968-7487 or visit the web site.