Today I drove up to Chatanika, about 35 miles north of Fairbanks. The roads were a little icy and snowy, but the going was not too bad. Along the way, I passed boreal forest, old gold mines, and oil rigs. I stopped and spent some time along the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which runs from Barrow down to Prince William Sound. Sarah Palin would have kvelled. Alaskans sure love their natural resources. It's such a paradox here: this is huge, wild country which attracts a certain kind of--dare I say it?--maverick. Alaskans are proud of their land and at the same time, they tend to be very conservative and human-centric in their approach to its use. I experienced that in the environmental forum where I spoke last night, and amongst the folks I spoke with today in the bar/lunch counter where I ate in Chatanika.
Tonight I'm leading Shabbat services and then hoping to see the aurora. All day the sky was clear and blue, and it's supposed to snow later in the weekend, so this is my best shot. We'll see.
Shabbat shalom to all.