Admiral Byrd was not alone

ADMIRAL RICHARD EVELYN BYRD (1888-1957) pioneered the exploration of the Antarctic. His first expedition there began in 1928 and ended in 1930. He returned subsequent times to undertake various projects that included the study of the continent's weather and geography, and of the earth's magnetism. In that most remote and inaccessible of regions, Byrd recounted, came an important spiritual realization.

"Admiral Byrd knew what it meant to 'link ourselves with the inexhaustible motive power that spins the universe.' His ability to do that pulled him through the most trying ordeal of his life. He tells the story in his book Alone. In 1934, he spent five months in a hut buried beneath the ice cap of Ross Barrier deep in the Antarctic. He was the only living creature south of latitude seventy-eight. Blizzards roared above his shack; the cold plunged down to eighty-two degrees below zero; he was completely surrounded by unending night. And then he found, to his horror, he was being slowly poisoned by carbon monoxide that escaped from his stove! What could he do? The nearest help was 123 miles away, and could not possibly reach him for several months.

'Take care'
December 30, 2002

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