Saturday, 28 April 2012

Across Antarctica with Ran Fiennes and Mike Stroud

Yup, I am still travelling - in the metaphorical sense. I am reading both the Fiennes and Stroud accounts of their unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Continent.  I am not too sure that I would be Ran Fiennes first choice to pull a sledge weighing hundreds of pounds across the bottom of the world.  I went out for one hour with a young pioneer sister Thursday afternoon - a very easy hour, and she did the driving, there was minimal walking, and I was chauffered from door to door - but its pretty much finished me off. I can hardly move today.  No frostbite though.

At present we - Ran, Mike, and me along for the ride - are in the Mill Glacier - and very frostbitten. They're getting a bit ratty about having to tow me and my sofa along as well as their sledges. Did they think I was going to walk it!  And I think we must all be as mad as hatters, many icicles short of a load.  Here is another place no-one is supposed to be.  I don't think even germs can survive here. As Betty McDonald once said, of her home in the northerly USA: "Any germ that could survive the rigours of this climate would be so big and strapping you could see it coming for blocks."

Ran Fiennes says this:  "I found this canvas full of power and wonder and thanked God for this moment of being alive.  Nothing else lived here nor ever had since the dinosaurs of Gondwanaland. No birds nor beasts nor the least bacteria survived. Only the deep roar of massive avalanche, the shriek and grind of splitting rock, the groan of shifting ice, and the music, soft or fierce, of the winds from a thousand valleys, moved to and fro across the eternal silence."
("Mind Over Matter", Ranulph Fiennes, Mandarin non-fiction)

The beauty and the power of the creation moved  him to thank God for it.  And for the gift of life.

Even now, imperfect, dying, cut off from our Source of life as we are, and with the whole world system lying in the power of "the wicked one", we can see the wonderful qualities of Jehovah in the splendour of his creation.  And that can move us to search for Him.

And, if we do, we are assured that he will let himself be found by us.

And we can find such joy in being alive, even as things are now.  How much more wonderful it will be when the earth is being restored to Paradise, we can probably only begin to imagine.

Captain Butterfly has set off looking smart in his yellow safety jacket for a morning's  bucket rattling outside Sainsbury's - collecting to finance the Sussex Rescuers.    Jacks is back!  Hurrray!!  She gave us a lovely supper last night - lasagne, chocolate chiffon cake, and Oyster Bay wine.

I can't go on the door to door work this morning as I can barely stand up.  Not because of Jack's supper, I must quickly, add - but because of my arthritic legs.    I will pray for some internet witnessing to do.

By the way, whether Ran Fiennes and Mike Stroud should have made that crossing or not, given how precious life is, what an achievement... I don't understand how they were alive at the end of it.

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