Sunday, December 23, 2007

Like No Other

My new favorite thing in the whole universe is the Christmas tree at the South Pole. The second I saw it I fell in love with it:

As it's been explained to me, the tree started a few years back when the night shift iron workers built it out of scraps and discarded metal parts. Each year since, members of the iron crew have added their own ornaments and adornments, resulting in a monstrous sculptural creation with more personality and character than any other Christmas tree I have ever seen. The ornaments are made from nuts and bolts, broken tools, saw blades, gears, and any sort of scrap that can be dug out of the recycling bins in the shops around the station. Limbs of the tree fall off and it requires repairs and adjustements every season.

Working on night shift often means missing most of the main social events of the holiday season. But one perk was that tonight I was able to go outside and watch this year's contributions to the ironworker tree. Below is a picture of iron crew member Kate Allen and boss Erik Nichols, while Kate was cutting her ornament. Below that is a picture of the piece after it had fallen and begun to melt itself into the ice.

Erik's ornament was an enormous snowflake made of nuts. The picture below that is a shot of Josh Miller attaching his own contributions.

I've been working so much and I'm so far away from the regular holiday traditions back home that I've barely been aware of the season. But watching the night shift iron crew decorating their spectacular and bizarre holiday tree put me in the Christmas spirit. I love the creativity here and I feel so fortunate to be able to experience a little of it. Happy holidays to everyone back home!


Blogger glenn said...

Hey Kathryn. Hope all is well, other than missing your cat. That always bothers me too. I think they should have a station dog and cat for us pet junkies. My buddies and I insulated the SPT legs last summer. Thanks for posting. I miss the ice when I am warm and toasty (or toasted) here at home.
Happy New year!

7:45 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

That tree is marvelous! I hope you put something on as a remembrance. Andrew just left to go back to Seattle, wearing the South Pole cap you sent for him. Will try to send a photo. Colleen is in charge of the Amnesty desk for Pakistan - so she could get very busy soon. Such a sad thing to happen.

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