Nice view from the Davis Ward icefield, looking NE down near the “thumb”. Note the snow blowing off the shoulders of Mt Ward (off screen to the right).

There’s a lot of things that people don’t tell you about ANSMET. They don’t tell you that John Schutt, in an effort to be a kind person and an effective teacher, reads to you the journal entries of the first Antarctic explorers on the day that both you and they experienced roughly 100 years apart. They don’t tell you that there’s a lot of neck pain in constantly looking down for those tiny black rocks. And only 1 person that I’ve talked to has told me about how truly incredible the silence here is (shout out to Scott VanBommell, 17-18).

I don’t experience silence much. If you know me outside of a professional setting, or maybe even there too, you know that I am the opposite of a silent person. I talk to everyone – I’ve never met a stranger. I ask a lot of questions. I believe there is good in this world and you just have to communicate to find it. But in Antarctica, there is a vast amount of silence. So much so that when the wind isn’t roaring, it makes you want to whisper… or just not talk at all. Your ears search for any signs of sound and eventually start to make a ringing background noise because they can’t believe there’s nothing for them to hear. Team members have said, “it was so quiet, I thought the world was ending” and “I thought, am I dead? Is this what it’s like?” It’s funny how silence is so strange to us that we equate it with something we know nothing about – the end and what happens after.

My favorite person I’ve ever met (hey, Tucker) taught me a lot about sitting in silence. It’s something he’s good at – taking in a moment, being quiet, and experiencing what it has to offer. In my not-enough-time with him, his appreciation of silence rubbed off on me.

So here’s to silence and being lucky enough to experience it. Thank you to Scott for telling me where to find it. Thank you to Tucker for teaching me how to sit in it. And thank you to Jim and ANSMET for giving me this opportunity to actually hear it.

Here’s to waiting for the wind to stop and for the silence to come back, Sheridan

-Caption and a little editing by rph