I was just perusing some of my recent posts, and came across the one about my seven weeks of free time. I had made myself a schedule to maximize this time, and just like that, it's gone. No, seven weeks haven't passed yet, phew. But what I thought was going to be almost two months of art and cooking and reading and long walks and relaxing has turned into a couple weeks of preparation. I'm currently going through the intense process of being physically and psychologically qualified for life on the Ice. This involves drug tests, blood work, an EKG, etc.
This time has also suddenly turned into a very brief calm before the storm. My big, open, breezy summer is now completely booked... a quick trip out East to visit my father and friends, doctor appointments, an abbreviated summer job, trying to find extreme weather accessories in stores stocked with bathing suits, planning, preparing.
I now only have a week or so left in my beloved rented house. In the next week or two I will somehow pack up my books, my dishes, my treasures, all the while keeping in mind what should come with me to Boston, what should come with me to Flathead Lake, what should come with me to New Zealand, what should come with me to the bottom of the world.
Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining. In actuality, I'm writing this rather feverishly, my heart quickening with the excitement of it all. The anticipation of this wild, unadulterated adventure is rather intoxicating. I've started devouring all the books I can get my hands on, and am watching the BBC nature documentary series Life in the Freezer (which you can watch instantly on Netflix). My favorite book so far is a collection edited by Susan Fox Rogers, called Life on the Ice. This passage from her introduction has stuck with me:
"I wanted to know what sort of tent I would be sleeping in at a remote camp, and if I would feel lonely waking in that tent - or if I would even be able to sleep with that endless sun. I wanted to experience an Antarctic wind on my face and understand what deep cold did to my bones. To understand a place I break it down into the simplest of human needs of sleep, warmth, food. But also: How do you keep communication with loved ones back home? How often does mail arrive? Are there showers? How do people travel around? Where do people pee? And what about love?"