Let me start with an image. An image that I thought was rather odd. There was a meeting of Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) at Fairbanks Alaska in March 2016.
As part of their deliberations a dinner was organized at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. On the official website of the Arctic Council, it is noted that, “Many delegates took the opportunity to dress up in period outfits and pose on one of the cars. This photo features Canadian delegates [with the Canadian SAO Susan Harper in the driver’s seat]”. I have never really understood the appeal of dressing up as an adult, even though there is a long-standing British tradition of polar explorers doing so in the Antarctic.
While I appreciate the museum invites this sort of activity, it is interesting to think about what might be at stake. Ultimately it is about dressing up in ‘white clothing‘ rather say donning gear more associated with native Alaskans. Otherwise that would have been potentially embarrassing or at the very least awkward. But then as I went further into the photo collection, I noticed another image with the caption, “This photo features a few of the Indigenous Permanent Participant delegates”. Everyone appeared to have taken up the opportunity to dress up. Well nearly everyone, there was no dressing up to be done by state observers because it was not that kind of meeting.
Dear Alyson, I played this song “Hold the Heathen Hammer High” by the band Tyr for you, since this is music that you liked and liked to listen. The Faroes heavy metal music is a good example and indicator of how open-minded you were and how broad were your interests, also crossing the borders of your profession and expertise. Being a Finn I don’t want to use superlatives or praise a person’s merits too much – you knew this well after living for a few years in Finland and learning the language – only would like to say that you were a unique person, even ‘extraordinary’ (the word which a few who knew you are using). I was happy to be your friend, that we enjoyed each other’s company and had a fruitful cooperation for years.
I’m honoured to have this tribute to You.