The Alaska State Folk Festival was canceled this year, but weird is still alive. Wednesday, April 15, would normally mark the day that Collette Costa and her band the High Costa Livin’ would bring down the house on the Folk Fest main stage with back up dancers, Off the Hook Honeys, throwing down the moves.

Coronavirus tried but could not break our hearts this year, because we still got to do our set (albeit with social distancing restrictions and some sexy masks and gloves).

Here is some of the magic that you missed this year. And I got to mark being a Honey off my bucket list!

Oh my gosh you guys, I don’t usually talk like a valley girl, but when I do it’s because I am immensely impressed. The latest edition to come out of University of Alaska Southeast, Tidal Echoes 2020 is the most stunning literary magazine I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Leafing through the gorgeous prose and artwork is like taking a nature bath. Here are some of my favorites. (See if you can spot some poems by yours truly.)

Wildfires wrapped me in their hazy cocoon yesterday.
Muffled all sounds and thoughts like a cold,
Like the eerie quiet of underwater. Orange sun transformed my living room into a glass of Tang. 

A parliament of eagles vied for salmon guts on the beach, chasing off the ravens over daisies and seaweed. Quarreling ravens forced out a few of their own in a screaming cacophony. Five scouts set off in precise fighter jet formation. Peace granted again.

My daughter returned from the beach smelling like wild mint. “I saw a moving rock!” she said. “A moving rock – what is she talking about?” The beach remained frozen in time.

Suddenly a rock became a porcupine and hobbled along the water’s edge.
Dinner fit for a mermaid of garlic shrimp and beach asparagus transported me back to Costa Rica, if just for a moment.

Out in front, a mama orca taught her two babies to hunt while Daddy long-fin kept watch in the distance. 

At 9:45 P.M., the wildfire sun glowed hot pink above the horizon, marking June’s finale in a brilliant exclamation point.

Photo: Kerry Howard