Well, I'm packing my bags and heading home early tomorrow morning. I didn't get to see the northern lights, but upon reflection, I'm very happy. After all, I spent a lot of time standing alongside my car, far outside of town, on beautiful starry nights. No aurora--but being in a beautiful wild place on a freezing night, with the dark trees all around me and a jewel of a crescent moon in the sky is pretty damn good even without the northern lights. We spend a lot of life waiting, for so many things. It's good to enjoy what you have even as you wait. Furthermore, this gives me good reason to return to Fairbanks to try again!
After teaching Sunday school, I went out to the Alaska Ice Park, to view sculptures that are part of the international ice carving championship, which is held here. They are absolutely amazing--jewels of art that change with the shifting light of day. And all the more gorgeous because they are not permanent. I could have stayed for hours, but the temperature was below zero, and the wind was blowing hard, so even bundled up, I got very cold very quickly. Still, I went back again later this evening to see the statues at night, when they are illuminated with multi-colored lights. It is like being in a fairy wonderland, a kind of dream, really (albeit an extremely cold dream!)
I'm attaching a couple of pictures; with time and space I could have included so many more.
The ice bust of Al Gore is NOT from the Ice Park. It is an entirely different enterprise from the apolitical reliefs and lovely abstracts in the park. Al Gore sits on a busy street corner in the heart of downtown, as a local citizen/ice artist's protest against environmentalists and talk of global warming. His point, of course, is that Al isn't melting, so global warming is not real. He even has a little sign by the statue indicating how many days it has lasted. Hey, everyone knows that all the best science in the world is a sham, because the frozen Al Gore statue in Fairbanks in February is a much better barometer than melting ice caps and glaciers. I'm convinced;)
In between stints at the Ice Park, I watched a film/picture show of the northern lights at the downtown theater. Wonderful images, accompanied by classical music. Not quite the same as being there, no doubt, but certainly the next best thing.
And so I head home with some very good memories and hopes to come back some day. The Jews here call themselves "the frozen chosen" and are very proud to be the northernmost Jewish community in the world. It would be a pleasure to return.