The magnetic pole drew Shackleton, called Ernest by friends and family. He had a vision of standing in the frozen south, looking north toward England. He faced the cold and vowed that he would reach “the end of the axis upon which this great round ball turns.”
On the first day of the year 1908, mid-summer in his upside world, Shackleton and the crew of the Nimrod sailed toward the bottom of the world. After 29 days, they could sail no more. The ice embraced the ship, and the cold plotted through the fall and winter to kill them, but they survived, waiting in the long darkness for the sun to rise again. When October turned spring, Shackleton and three others set out for zero longitude.
Like most of us, he almost reached his dream, just 97 miles short. That’s 156 kilometers for those who dream in other places.
Our dreams draw us, and in spite of hunger, frost-bitten feet, and the blinding white of despair, we slog on, so often turned back just miles from the place where we had hoped to plant our flags.
28 thoughts on “Just 97 miles away”
I will treasure your last sentence. That really hit home.
I can relate to it as well.
Thanks. By the way, I like your name – very clever.
Thanks for reading, Marie.
Inspiring. I think I’ll go slog for a while!! Thank you!
There’s a lot to be said for slogging.
Interesting post about persistance. And also: Have you ever seen the wonderful miniseries “Shackleton” with Kenneth Branagh? Worth a look.
I haven’t seen the miniseries, but I will put it on my list. Thanks for that.
You’re welcome. It’s well done, so I think you’ll enjoy it. 🙂
As someone who has always been fascinated by polar exploration, I love this post. The Amundsen-Scott race to the pole is also an amazing drama. Scott reached his dream, but a few days too late, and then his dream killed him. A very sad and heroic tale.
I find them fascinating, but I would never in a million years go on one. Too cold for me. I would be much more interested in an expedition to the equator.
So near and yet so far. It must have been heartbreaking to have to turn back.
It’s poignant, isn’t it? Later he told his wife, “Better a live donkey than a dead lion.”
Better to have slogged and failed than to have never slogged at all. Or something like that. Wonderful post.
Thanks, winsomebella. I think he made the right decision – they didn’t have adequate food or the strength to continue.
The pleasure must be in the journey, not the final destination. It’s like writing–the process so satisfying that when it finally ends, we must look for another trip to satisfy that hunger that always returns. Loved your post.
It is a lot like writing. So often we try our best but we just can’t quite reach the place we’re aiming for.
Great pics…greater message. Thanks. The sentiment is exactly the fuel I needed for my day today. GET OUT OF MY HEAD (kidding…). Thanks. I needed that. Dan
Blogland: Walk in and out of other people’s heads – for free!
Our lives are full of “almost.”
Where did you want to plant your flag that you never got to do it? You’ve got lots of flags planted all over blog land 🙂 they are very pretty!
I’m glad you like some of the flags I’ve planted. Even if we never reach our goals, we can keep discovering and planting those flags, right?
I’ve heard somewhat frequently that the destination isn’t the point, it’s the journey. If that’s the case I’ve had a very pointed life, as my journey has had many twists and turns. From your writing in here, it looks to me that your journey has also been a full one, and very meaningful.
a very fine post. and moving too. so often in history, there were many attempts before the dream was reached… and some we’re still reaching for.
We are creatures who dream, and those dreams compel us to keep trying, even in the face of defeat. I guess we only stop reaching when we die.