Alone

In 1934, Richard Byrd—famous for a previous expedition to the Antarctic—decided to over winter on the ice near the South Pole, alone. He imagines a communing with nature and the chance to enjoy the most profound peace and quiet. For weeks he is meditative, settling into a routine, recording the weather, observing the aurora, reporting back to the base station by radio every few days. But then he becomes desperately ill. He soon discovers that his tiny cabin, buried in the snow for warmth, is also trapping the carbon monoxide from his stove—forcing him to choose between poisoning himself or freezing to death. What could have been a tale of hubris becomes instead something else: of friendship, dependence, and deep gratitude. In a different time of solitude, Byrd’s lesson continues to resonate.