I woke up this morning to a bright sunshine shimmering over the snow blanket outside. My windows were almost completely covered in ice and crystals. Then I checked the current weather. The temperature for my Chicago zip code registered at a toasty –14 °F, with a –45 °F windchill! I’m sure this is old news to most people. After all, if you’re in the United States, there’s a strong possibility that you’re experiencing some extreme winter weather right now. Apparently the “polar vortex” is blasting far and wide—from plains states and the Midwest, to areas as far south as Nashville and Atlanta.
It all seems a bit excessive, but I’m trying to think positively. For instance, maybe I’ll finally get to try tossing a pot of boiling water into the outdoor air to see if it freezes before hitting the ground. Plus any journeys I make out of the house give me the opportunity to imagine that I’m an explorer, pressing on through undiscovered terrain.
I will admit that the explorer fantasy is slightly hindered by the fact that it’s summer in Antarctica right now. According to online readings, the current temperature at McMurdo Station—the U.S. run research center in Antarctica—is 26 °F. Of course, the continent’s temperature has been known to reach −129 °F in the chillier seasons, so I won’t begrudge the residents their summer warmth.
With all that in mind, I recommend getting cozy with a good book today. Here are some great Antarctic exploration titles to get you started:
-Adrian Vigliano, Nonfiction Editorial