Valuable and painful thoughts from Fairbanks

Published 7:04 pm Thursday, January 31, 2019


esides being the most beautiful winter wonderland I’ve ever seen, Fairbanks and its surroundings afforded me some thoughtful insights.

During our stay, I found it difficult to adjust to the daylight times. Sunrise at 10:15 a.m. and sunset at 3:48 p.m. our first day there was an alarm to our systems. Our bodies woke to Brandon time which is usually around 5 a.m., but that time was 8 a.m. in Fairbanks. Yet still, there was no sun — not until after 10 o’clock. Then by 4 o’clock all sightseeing was ending. The light was gone.

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During those extended hours of darkness, I thought how the Alaskans have to adjust to limited sunlight and long, dark nights. It didn’t take long for me to appreciate my Mississippi time zone and the sunlight that accompanies our waking hours. “What if the sun never came up?” is a sobering question one can actually consider in Alaska.

Our goal in being invited to Alaska was to see the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis. Upon arriving, we studied maps, asked locals, and downloaded Aurora apps to our phones. We sat up late, scanning the skies, and pinpointed best locations for sightings.

On our last night there, Othel and I hired a guide to “chase” the lights. He picked us up at 10 p.m. (1 a.m. Brandon time), and we rode to four different mountain tops for best viewing. The minus degree temps kept me in the truck, but Othel would try to see from a better vantage. The paralyzing wind gusts would soon rush him back into the truck.

Our guide pointed to one faint wisp of cloud-like formation in the sky and said that was the beginning of the lights, but it soon disappeared. Our chase ended at 2:30 a.m. The Fairbanks trip was a fabulous adventure, but it was still a disappointment to travel such a long way and not see what we hoped to see.

My spiritual nugget from this: People spend time, money and energy searching for joy, pleasure, and success and never find it. The right Guide is essential, and second hand knowledge of success stories is never the same as personal experience.

As our flight left Fairbanks, I thought of how we had looked expectantly, hopefully out our windows and in the frigid night air, hoping to see those miraculous lights. Had I ever looked for Christ’s return with such expectancy and desire? Did I wake each morning with the excitement that this might be the day?

There were some valuable things as well as painful things to learn in Fairbanks.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to