Dawn 180

Written in response to: New Dawn | Daily Post


At the pole you can wait up to, but not more than, 179 days for the sun.

I learnt that when I arrived – more than 179 days is impossible because of the angle of the earth and the speed at which it rotates. They say you should keep a clear log of days here, so you don’t loose yourself.

After 10 days you start to hallucinate, you see light patches in the sky that aren’t really there.

After 40 days you start trying to remember what the sun looked like. More importantly, what it felt like. You sit near to the fire and close your eyes trying to work out if the heat of the flames feels the way the heat of the sun used to feel. A kind of scurvy sets in. The lack of vitamin D makes your body feel pale and withdrawn. You eat lots of eggs and fat. Butter is good.

After 100 days you get a restlessness in your mind. You feel that your eyes are starting to shut down, atrophy. Sounds take on a more physical dimension. The tins cups rattle like cow bells and people’s breathing sounds like air being sucked through wet leaves. The worst sound is the sound of the expansive emptiness that surrounds the camp. You can here how hollow and cold it is: endless, heartless, uninhabitable.

At 150 days you feel you are closer to some great change. Tensions mount in the camp and people start to play with other people’s feelings, just for something to do. The only thing that preserves sanity is the knowledge that it’s only 28 sleeps to go before dawn.

At 170 days the darkness becomes complete. I picture the last time I saw the sun, a red band bleeding up from the black horizon, melting the cold blue sky through a blade of orange tears.

It’s day 180 now, the sun didn’t come. A panic is starting to set in.


Photo: Sharon Drummond (CC 2.0)
Photo: Sharon Drummond (CC 2.0)

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