24 November, 1997
Monday began as a beautiful day but ended with a moving storm that had been around for hours. It had no wind or snow with it but it caused major problems with visiblity since everything is white. On the ice sheet itself there is no color. Since there is nothing here to give us directions besides the buildings and the way they face, one could easly become confused and lost. This storm did just that to the senses.
Everywhere you looked it was white. When you looked off into the horizon where once blue met white it was now white against white leaving no boundary between them. I can imagine what the first explorers must have thought on the dome. Imagine if you can being in a totally white place with no color or direction. Even the sun is blocked out, although it is still light outside. In the condition above, nothing has a definite pattern or depth to it. You can fall over the smallest piece of snow that is misplaced. Even finding the way to your tent becomes a chore. At home many of our storms seem to last a few hours, here the storm is going to stay for several days.
Colored flags now mark the path to the tents and even to the bathroom in some cases. Without them no one would easily find where they are going over the rough snow. The flags give us a path that has been plowed and relatively safe to walk on. If you vary from the path, since you can not see even a foot in front of you, you may find that you have fallen or nearly fallen on a snow dune that had arrived over the weekend with the last storm. It amazed me to find that the senses could not pick up on anything around them with the absence of color or markings of some kind. It is definitely an experience that I will not forget.
The people at Siple Dome have become a real community or even closer a real family among those that work there. They always want to hear from outside people if there is a chance to. They would love to hear from you if you have a few minutes to send a post card to them. Living in the white wonderland leaves them often thinking of sunshine with colors added to it. If you have a few minutes send a post card (they will put it in some kind of design on the bulletin board for all to see) to:
Siple Dome Camp
% Lin Denham
PSC 469 Box 700
96599 - 5700
They will really appreciate it, especially since Christmas is coming and they are not home for it.
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