Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, May 20, 1916: “We had touched the naked soul of man.”

–from Shackleton’s account “South”—

“At 1.30 p.m. we climbed a final ridge and saw a little steamer, a whaling-boat, entering the bay 2500 ft. below. A few moments later, as we hurried forward, the masts of a sailing-ship lying at a wharf came in sight. Minute figures moving to and fro about the boats caught our gaze, and then we saw the sheds and factory of Stromness whaling-station. . .

“Cautiously we stared down the slope that led to warmth and comfort. . . . the sole possible pathway seemed to be a channel cut by water running from the upland. . .It was the splashing of a waterfall, and we were at the wrong end. The way down was through the waterfall itself. . . . We had flung down the adze from the top of the fall and also the logbook and the cooker wrapped in one of our blouses.

“That was all of tangible things; but in memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had ‘suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in his splendours, heard the text that nature renders. We had touched the naked soul of man.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s