Tag Archives: ice carving

All of the Lights – World Ice Art Championships and the Aurora Borealis

My wife is difficult to impress. 

This in and of itself is not a bad thing.

For two Alaskan winters, I’ve tried to get her outside to experience the northern lights. 

She wouldn’t bite. 

I’m probably impressed by too much.

The first faint strand of the lights that I saw in Calgary, Alberta back in 1988 became a sort of high-water mark for me. I would talk about them for years. 

The skeptic in our relationship, it turns out, is not the journalist. 

Today, after a full day of soaking in the mineral waters of Chena Hot Springs and eating good food, we decided on a nightcap of a cold walk through the World Ice Art Championships exhibit in Fairbanks. 

As we stared at the backlit exhibits carved in exquisite detail by human hands, my wife looked overhead and saw a thin band of light sweep across the sky like a curtain’s fringe. 

When she caught up with me, she pointed the growing lights out to me. 

I couldn’t help by smile. 

Try as I might, I cannot impress her. Doesn’t stop me from trying, but it’s a fool’s errand.  And a fool’s errand is anything if not love. At least in my world. 

The aurora borealis did what I could not do. It found her in its own good time. That point when she was ready to be impressed rather than led their by an overly excited husband. 

This small point in our lives is emblematic of our longer relationship, and it would be wise for me to remember this moment. 

Which is why I’m writing it down in the first place. 

As the kids played on the carved dolphin slides and the mazes, I caught her looking up to see the lights herself, unbidden. 

Even in the 0 degree chill, after more than a dozen decent viewings of the lights, sharing these with her was one of those special moments. 

Mostly because I got to witness her discovery.