Antarctica: The South Pole.
Average Temp: -40°F
One creature survives on the pack ice: the emperor penguin.
Beneath our feet, the heart of
the Earth hums its eternal
magnetic melody. Each year,
our route’s appearance alters. We have to make long detours to
pass these sleeping giants but never, in our elders’ memory, has
a single caravan lost its way here.
After ten days and thousands
of steps, then another ten days and as many steps and one morning, our
tribe reaches its destination. These gates of rock have seen us all
hatch, every last one of us, since the dawn of time. Here, on the Oamock,
we meet every year to give life.
We know winter is ready to strike. We’re like tightrope walkers,
balancing our eggs. We huddle up together, forming a single body that
circles like a whirlwind.
Here is our victory over winter. Life! So small and so beautiful, unreal
in the cold that plagues us. Our suffering has reached its peak. Each
coming day will free chicks from their shells.
Like the sun, our chicks become stronger everyday. But summer’s
a long way off. For now, we cannot let our chicks out. They are so frail.
They need our warmth
so much. All around us, the cold lies in wait.