December 24, 1912: Mawson’s Christmas Eve

–from Douglas Mawson’s account “The Home of the Blizzard”–

“When we lay down to sleep it was only to doze for, with hunger gnawing at one, such hours of repose were never more than a half-waking dream wherein, in a tumult of longings, our minds carried us off to the “feasts of “the land of plenty” which we had forsaken for the desolation of the Antarctic plateau. Even by day, as we tramped along through the snow, these food questions took possession of us; we racked our brains thinking how to make the most of the meagre quantity of food available.

“At about 8 a.m. on December 24 the sun commenced to gleam through the clouds and we got under way as cheerfully as possible. The light was still bad, however, and snow fell as we zigzagged about among many crevasses. Suddenly the sun burst forth and beation down on the deep soft snow made it so sticky that the load would hardly move.”

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