Joan Larsen Encore: Spending Christmas in Antarctica

Posted on December 18, 2013


By Joan Larsen

At this season, as another Christmas draws near,

we find there are moments when we look back —

back at a lifetime of memories

of Christmas past . . . many times wishing

they could be the simpler times we once had


I speak for all of us, longing –

I believe – for a change of scene,

a world without artifice,

and finding even the thought of

Christmas in Antarctica

to be the dream of dreams:


Life at its best.


The beauty of the ice,

the sun glistening off the glaciers,

untouched and pristine,

give off an ethereal beauty

that we later call “heaven”


Antarctica itself, we find, is a magnet –

calling us back in an inner renewal

not experienced elsewhere in this world


The stream of icebergs mesmerize,

the penguins and other creatures

come forward to give us the warmest greetings,

inviting us to share their home


We melt.


And so we return to this other world

for another Christmas —

a Christmas with the gifts that count:

gifts of ever-changing beauty in every direction,

gifts that never fail to fill our hearts

to over-flowing


And isn’t that what the very best Christmases

should be all about?


These are my happiest times, my dream of dreams – the greatest gift that I could be given.  The Antarctic summer days are warm and mostly sunny.  .  . and a Christmas spent here remains forever in the heart.

The known world has vanished and floats somewhere beyond the horizon.  Icelets thicken the water, each one quivering with such sparkle that the sea looks like aluminum foil shaken by the sun.


The first icebergs appear on the horizon, looking like baby rhinos that had strayed too far from their herd.   We steer into the frozen wonderland that is Antarctica,  the bow slicing a mirror of all God’s creations, each passenger on the ship echoing the thoughts of others:  how are we going to be able to tell anyone about this?  We stand on the deck, mesmerized, as a parade of icebergs, each larger than our ship float by as if in a parade.


On some we see a congregation of penguins, wearing black-and-white tuxes, strolling back and forth – looking like little head waiters waiting for the evening crowd to arrive.


The passengers are in awe, for passing before us are icebergs that are moving sculptures wrought by nature, far surpassing those in any art museum.




Can there be anything so perfect in the natural world as the combination of wildlife who have no fear and come up to bow and greet their visitors – and the beauty of the icebergs floating by majestically, each touching the eyes and the soul simultaneously, making us know we have been blessed in the most special way.  I call it all a glimpse of a perfect heaven.





Photo: Claus Possberg





JoanAvatarWriter Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth.  But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again.  She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home”.