To my back is a window that faces the rear of the station. On the other side of the window are the small huts and work stations that get shut down for winter. They are beginning to stir. Beyond those is the End of the World. The view is obscured by snow blown in from the left. It sits on the window sill a crescent shape, rising from left to right. From the couch, only the slightest bit of light above the snow is visible. The wall is about ten feet behind the couch.
The couch is a lime green love seat that faces away from the window. From in here, out there is least interesting thing to look at. The window sits in the wall of the industrial, first floor hall. Separating the hall from the love seat is a thick, metal door. It is similar to the doors found in restaurants that separate the kitchen from the walk-in refrigerator. This separation could not be greater.
The floor is polished concrete that runs the length of the entire room. The love seat is in the ante room. The main room is further divided off by transparent doors about a foot off the ground. The light is artificial. The initial smells are chemical. The feeling is natural. The air is thick and moist. The greenhouse is refuge from the dry, cold outside.
The humming of the filters and plumbing blends into the silence of escape. Barefoot, with a copy of Catch-22, I sit in the love seat and disappear. Except that the book becomes secondary. A classic of literature becomes a prop. Reading is cover for what is truly appealing about the greenhouse.
I spent the afternoon outside, going from building to building, to complete the duties assigned me other than seeing patients. The temperatures ranged from the -30sF to -70sF. To keep my sunglasses from fogging up, I had my fleece face-covering pulled down to my chin. Small breaths. Small breaths are tolerable. The gusts of winds, the ones that drop the temps into the -70s are sudden and erratic. They make the body work harder to produce warmth. More small breaths. But occasional deep replenishing breaths are required. And they can be unpleasant.
But here, breathing is deep and luxurious. The chemical odors have faded. The smell is green. Tomatoes grow at the far end of the main room. They feel healthy. The smell is right. The warmth is dense and natural.
Mouthfuls of richness. Nostrils wide and full. Chest expansion requiring the overflow to be taken into the belly. With my hands behind my head, I indulge.