"Alone," by Richard E. Byrd
As I was noticing this winter the effects of physical isolation, I remembered a book I had read about 15 years ago, "Alone," the classic polar adventure by Adm. Richard E. Byrd. In 1933, Byrd organized a one-man expedition to Antarctica or six months. This was a time when Antarctica was mostly uninhabited. Midway through the book, he describes putting sugar in his soup instead of salt and aiming a spoonful of cornmeal mush at the table without remembering to use a plate.
But maybe given his purpose as an explorer, and the times, he continues, undaunted. He aspired to experience tranquility but found that, even in the polar north, distractions appeared. He also had to deal with a poisonous gas that affected his health.
This book really did help me remember that a reset every so often helps to ground us, even in unwanted isolation.
Karolyn Redoute, Minneapolis
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