I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when,
I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on…
Far from Folsom prison, that’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away…..
I know I had it comin’, I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’, And that’s what tortures me.
Lyrics from Folsom Prison Blues, by Johnny Cash
Bringing it on home, doing Time
Music is a big thing down in Antarctica. And so are ‘outside’ folk offering you their advice from warmer quarters.
Folsom Prison Blues
I’m a big Johnny Cash fan… listening to his song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ down here, now I understand what he was talking about, having penned the song whilst locked in doing time in the US Air Force.
Down here in Antarctica things aren’t much different… time keeps draggin’ on… and I ain’t seen the sunshine for some time now. Everyday you feel like you are fighting in a war… against yourself, sometimes others, but mostly the spell and curse of winter.
Lost in Time
You sit wondering what you did to wind up in this ice prison… a Gulag lost in time and misplaced in Geography.
It makes you think how you were, how you lived and how you will live if or when you leave. And then you sit some more, until your legs ache.
You keep your eyes fixed on the horizon. The Thousand Yard Stare. Though it never changes, your dreams do. Your only thought, is ‘when I get out of here…’. Thats all you ever hear others speaking about.
No-one to blame but yourself
Like Johnny Cash, I didn’t get put inside this prison by anyone else, but myself. I chose to be here.
Parole is up … in November.
Finding my way around in the dark
Its very easy to loose your way down here in the dark, at the end of the world, living in the perpetual polar night, in months of darkness. People who are faraway are eagerly keen to offer you their advice. But to be honest, they don’t know the way themselves – they aren’t here and they haven’t been here. So I choose to follow my own direction. That way if you get lost, again, you only have yourself to blame.
Highway of Despair
And for those of you that have offered me your kind advice, about how and what to write in this blog… Thank you it means a lot. So much in fact that I, in turn, want to open up and share my advice with you.
My advice… get up and come and spend a winter down here… then let’s talk. When you drive down the highway of despair, swing a hard left onto Hope Street and give me a call, if you get a cell signal. Come alone. If you get stuck, I guess its tough luck.
This blog isn’t gospel and I don’t care if it sells or not. If you don’t want to read it, thats ok, but save your advice until you live and earn the experience yourself.
‘Tut tut tut’ I hear from afar.
Honesty is the best policy
Sorry for my honesty… its rather too brutal. A bit like, ‘you have 2 months to live’ delivered to a patient over the telephone whilst you are on holiday. Its not professional, but neither is Antarctica.
Antarctica isn’t the Bahamas, Maldives or Seychelles. Its dark trickery and raw brutality- it will take your fingers right off after its blown your gloves away. In the whiteout that follows, you won’t see past your numb, frostbitten hands.
We live as we dream, alone
There is no ‘peace within’ here. There is no temple, no religion and no monks. There is no saviour. This is real life.
There aren’t many pretty team fairytale happy endings to write about down here yet. Its generally cold and lonely, but life is vibrant.
I write what I write because that’s what I do and this is what ‘I’ feel. If you want to hear a fairytale with magic, wizards and with a happy ending, go and read Harry Potter – or something by an Antarctic summer tourist. They really know what they are talking about… I can make a few recommendations if you need.
The sun has gone and sometimes it feels like your soul has departed as well.
Joseph Conrad said it best, ‘We live as we dream, alone.’
I say, If God ever lived in Antarctica, he left a very long time ago.
Taken from the film
I leave you with a scene from ‘Walk the Line’ which may well ring the bells of truth loud and clear. It may hurt, but if you listen, you may well learn something and change your tune. I did.
Sam Phillips: You know exactly what I’m telling you. We’ve already heard that song a hundred times. Just like that. Just… like… how… you… sing it.
Johnny Cash: Well you didn’t let us bring it home.
Sam Phillips: Bring… bring it home? All right, let’s bring it home. If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing *one* song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin’ me that’s the song you’d sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it’s real, and how you’re gonna shout it? Or… would you sing somethin’ different. Somethin’ real. Somethin’ *you* felt. Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear. That’s the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain’t got nothin to do with believin’ in God, Mr. Cash. It has to do with believin’ in yourself.
Johnny Cash: [after a pause] I got a couple of songs I wrote in the Air Force. You got anything against the Air Force?
Sam Phillips: No.
Johnny Cash: I do.
Bitterness? No. Even our last remaining lemons down here, having been here so long, has meant their bitterness has sweetened. And boy, do they taste good, with the kick from the alcohol fermentation.
But if you choose to stay and read on over the coming months, I’ll do my best to conjure up a fairytale ending, in case we don’t get one here. If there is something to bring home, rest assured, I’ll be sure to bring it on home.
Yours Cheerily, as always…
Oh and greetings to the new readers of this blog from Iran… welcome.
Song of the day:
Folsom Prison Blues – written by Johnny Cash featured in the film, Walk the Line.