Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting out

As I get ready to leave in less than ten hours, two scenes keep coming back to me from the movie Shawshank Redemption.

RED (Morgan Freeman): Believe what you want. These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. After long enough, you get so you depend on 'em. That's "institutionalized."

RED: [Brooks]'s been here fifty years. This place is all he knows. In here, he's an important man, an educated man. A librarian.

I've been at McMurdo Base for just over a year. I certainly have more liberties than any prison, but life has taken on a certain stable rhythm, especially over the winter. As I get ready to head to Christchurch, NZ in a few hours, I just keep thinking about how overwhelming the independence may be. About a month ago, a chef asked me what I wanted him to cook for dinner. I had trouble answering him because it had been so long since I had that choice presented to me. Everyday, I'll be presented with choices that I didn't have down here. I'm kind of awe struck thinking about the possibilities.

Also overwhelming, but in a better way, will be the attack on my other senses. I am going to sense more colors, smells, and sounds that I have had in a year. Our main colors are black and white. Our main smells are dinner, your own body odor, and fuel. The sounds are nothing compared to what a city will present. I'm looking forward to like burying my nose in the petals of an orange lily or digging my toes into the grass. I've heard that you can smell Earth before the plane even lands.


  1. thanks for the reminder. i take the touch of grass for granted. i should go walk barefoot on grass...

  2. I can't imagine the change. What fun to rediscover so much of 'life' again.

    Where are you off to next?