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!

Everything happens in threes. Last fall my grandmother passed away. A month ago my husband’s father died. I always wondered who’s going to be the third? And then coronavirus happened.

So much grief.

We don’t know anyone personally who has passed from the coronavirus. We live in Juneau Alaska where so far only 10 people have reported contracting the illness.

Still, my five-year-old is having a moment. She keeps telling me she doesn’t want me to die, then dissolving into tears. During bedtime prayers she says please don’t let us die from the coronavirus. In a modern day rendition of ring-around-the-rosy my kids play “I live you die.”

I don’t know where she got this whole death thing. Maybe it’s because she wouldn’t stop licking handrails, so I explained what could happen if mommy got this thing. (Because of my asthma I am high-risk.) Now I don’t take her out into public at all.

It seemed like nothing would stop my daughter from crying. Until she picked up a piece of paper and a pen and wrote “dear Mom, I’m sorry you died.” Then she drew pictures on it.

Now she’s dancing around the room singing. She processed her feelings with the art, took them out of her body and put them on paper. This is how powerful art can be.

I’ve been writing poetry and journaling a lot lately. It helps me process my emotions in a world turned upside down. Making art is my savior. Whatever you can do—writing or journaling or poetry or songwriting, or dancing, painting, beading, crocheting—do it.

Keep creating, everyone! And wash your hands.


Photo by Mr. Tt on Unsplash

Today we drew animals and read

about the Titanic. We drove our cars

slowly— imagine a snail,

then slow it down even more.

Every day is like a Sunday,

like moving underwater,

like when Alaska burned

& smoke circled us in a dream.

What other than a crisis can put you

in the moment, without a past

or future— only a now. Time marked

by bicycle tracks in frozen beach

grass, riding icy mud flats at low tide.

(Here social distancing is a way of life.)

I should cook an elaborate meal,

call my sister, do an online yoga class—

tend to my “medically sensitive” body.

Maybe my heart and my breath

and the breeze will sync up,

and I won’t need my inhaler anymore.

Maybe the tide will wash the beach of snow,

and the sun will seduce the spring.