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.