Corinna Cook, a student in Northern Studies, stops as she crosses the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus on Wednesday. Dec. 8, 2010, to bask in the light of the mid-afternoon setting sun.

A long, lean band of orange light stretched across campus. A lone student stood still in the middle of it yesterday. Eyes closed, she faced the mid-afternoon setting sun. Her breath frosted as she exhaled. I stopped and watched her. Ah, a kindred spirit.

As I approached to join her, I noticed her eyes were closed. Indeed, a kindred spirit.

“I get hungry for the light,” she said.

A graduate student in Northern Studies, Corrina Cook describes her major as “literary accounts of Alaska.” She was heading to her class in “Narrative Art of Alaska” when she stopped to stand in the stillness, her breath freezing as she exhaled, braving the cold to relish the sunlight.

“How much it reminds me of the ocean. How the water plays the light,” said Cook, who did her undergraduate work in southern California.

“Nobody told me about this place,” she said, of Alaska and its winter light. “The sun scraping along the mountains. This foreign area within sight but not touchable.”

Corinna Cook, a UAF graduate student in Northern Studies, has frozen eyelashes after she stopped for a few minutes to face the sun setting behind the Alaska Range.

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