Guest article published here at Our Hen House
Last month, when Eliza Muirhead — who is currently working aboard Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin — wrote a feature for Our Hen House entitled “You’re Lucky to Love What You Do”: My Journeys On and Off the Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin, many of you joined us in being both smitten and awed by this changemaker’s stories from the front lines. In today’s second installment of Eliza’s three-part series, she writes from the Ross Sea — the “bottom of the world” — where she has what you might call a unique vantage point from which to ruminate on animal sentience.
Does Your Smile Mean the Same as Mine? Thoughts from the Bottom of the World
by Eliza Muirhead
It’s easy to romanticize sailing on a ship in Antarctica; being among the castles of ice in a land that cares little about you, providing only two hours respite from sunlight per night. Freezing winds that give little warning of the sudden turn of sunshine into a snowstorm. The only thing beneath your feet being a speck of a hull floating above miles of dark ocean in a place so remote that, even in a society where you can step on a plane and be almost anywhere within 24 hours, still remains off the traveled map. The bottom of the world.
Not many people ever get the opportunity to take a step outside of the demands and habits of our modern society. To go somewhere that has no need or respect for money, where the day of the week or the time of day means only what you choose to make it mean.
It’s a place that gives you the opportunity to peel your life back to its elemental needs and pleasures. Mashed potatoes have never tasted so delicious, a radiating heater has never been so comforting, and the company of a good friend is actually, consciously, appreciated.
When you are stuck with what you’ve got, the small pile of warm clothes in plastic tubs under your bunk, a dwindling supply of soft apples in the cool room and the company of whoever is sitting beside you, you appreciate it.