AK vs AK

"Who knew Fairbanks was so fabulous! " Michelle

Sunshine and Lollipops

Winter is starting to wear on people. Unsurprisingly, it’s really getting to the people who like to complain all day every day via Tumble and Tweet about everything there could possibly be to complain about. But surprisingly, it’s also getting to some people who seem to do a good job of trooping it out. “3 words,” one posted on her Facebook status yesterday, “seasonal affective disorder.”

A few friends have been breaking out the “happy lamps” since December but now that the sun’s starting to behave a little more (i.e. rising before noon), the main culprit is the cold. It’s been 30 or 40 below zero since forever with no end in sight. Thankfully, this is the only place I’ve lived where no one asks the dumbest question ever: “Cold enough for ya?”

Still, the weather does provide the fodder of witty rhetoric for visitors (“It’s cold: Ha, ha,” joked the leader of Celtic folk band Solas between sets during a show last February, “and dark: Ha, ha, ha.”). And metaphors for existentialists: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

Come March, folks are really running on the fumes of the memory of last summer and the hope that all of this waiting will be worthwhile again.  By April, as I mentioned in a previous post, most of the snow is gone but the air temps are still wintery enough to be nails-on-the-chalkboard annoying.

It was during that time last year – the purgatory between break-up and green-up – that Eastern European performance artist Tomáš Kubínek put on a dazzling show in Fairbanks. He kicked things off with a story about a visit to grandma’s house. He had a lot of siblings and his family was very poor. When granny produced for them a miraculous and magical piece of hard candy, all of the kids lined up and each took a 5 second turn sucking on the candy before passing it on to the next.  They passed it up and down the line until all that was left of it was “the memory of the candy.” And then they spent the rest of their visit reminiscing about the memory.

The timing of this particular story was a little ironic. A few weeks earlier, TED Fellow Candy Chang had traveled to Fairbanks to install a public art piece, “Looking for Love Again,” on top of the abandoned Polaris Building downtown. The installation was to be removed by the end of April 2011 but it’s still there. So for now, and for the foreseeable future, we too can reminisce about the “memory of the Candy.”

The other day a News-Miner headline announced that Alaska’s economic forecast “is not all sunshine and lollipops.” That funny turn of phrase (no doubt a nod to the Lesley Gore song) instantly took me back to my own sweet memory of the candy of last summer when the air was filled with yellow butterflies and floating dandelion poofs…

Soon come, y’all. Soon come.

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2012 by in alaska, Fairbanks, musings and tagged , , , , .

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