Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In the time before everything on the Terra Nova expedition went so badly wrong, Dr. Wilson sketched the sunsets. Apsley Cherry-Garrard describes him sitting on a cold Antarctic hillside with only a few minutes before it would be too cold to have his hands exposed, penciling in the names of the colors to be filled in later. And then in the darker times, finishing them by memory.

The people in his landscapes, mostly, are insignificant, swallowed by the vast sweeps of ice, buffeted by the winds, dwarfed by the mountains and the alien world they stand on. There's no time there, or perhaps there's too much time. After a certain point there probably isn't much difference. It's easy to believe that this is the place that would swallow the explorers only miles from the hut that could save them.

I imagine that in the nights, under a cloud of thick blubber smoke, they dreamed of tall forests and close cities and clean lilac flowers.

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