The sun has been a long time coming. We think it would probably have been visible on the 10th except for a great grey cloud stretched over the northern horizon. For the day or two before that, days which really felt like days as well, there was a definite chunk of the sky that was brighter than anywhere else. Enough to define horizontal and vertical shadows, light to let us know that dawn was on its way.
We celebrated sun up in the traditional way, by raising a fresh flag above the base. Kirsty, being the youngest, pulled it up and unfurled it to flutter in the wind. Later that night as I climbed back onto the platform the motion of the flag caught my eye and gave me a start. Even though I'd seen it raised at lunchtime I'd grown so used to the bare flagpole that this new addition to the skyline caught me unawares.
It being on a Thursday this was followed by an episode of Doc School. These fairly regular sessions let our Doctor, Vicki, prove that she knows something about fixing people by letting us each have a go ourselves. This week we got messy and plastered our limbs. As I was on gash I had the fun job of mopping up afterwards, chasing white footprints down corridors with a mop.
The sun finally emerged on Friday. Clear skies and a gentle waving mirage around the horizon produced a perfect sun rise. First the warm orange along the horizon bunches together into a lighter yellow patch, the sky above growing bluer. Then a pinprick of brightness bursts through and melts along the mirages into a band of blinding light. The band bubbles for a while, growing and shrinking as the mirages bend and buckle between us. The top of the sun rises further, a dome above the horizon, its familliar shape certainly the long forgotten sun. I want to stare, to see it rise higher, but my eyes protest. I look away and blink as its black image lingers then fades away. I'd like to feel its warmth, but have only the gentle wind and my freezing breath playing over my face.
The rest of the day is a happy affair, the return of the light, confirmed by sight of the sun, has made even the most grumpy spirits soar. Talk at lunch is of plans for kiting, skiing, trips away and further visits to our penguins. Winter's far from over, but what remains will surely be worthwhile.
I think, though, that I will miss the darkness, the stars and the dawn. The endless light of the summer sees the sun dominate the sky. Its bright jealous light hides the stars and diminishes even the moon. Winter brought sunsets, stars, and a dawn that lasted for sixty days. I can stand and stare out at the sky, its grand colours extending from East to West, changing so gradually that there's time to drink in every aspect of the scene. Sunsets over the sea back home might be just as grand, but they pass from day to night so quickly that its hard to form an impression of each seperate stage, like a waterfall they seem unreal unless the eye can follow the flow. Here, now, the dawn is like a glacier, flowing still but slowly, moving steadily from moment to moment, but never seeming to change.
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