For the past year and a half Jayme Henderson has always been there — at mango-infested brunches, long weekend retreats and off-key karaoke ho-downs — but now, as we head into the darkest hours of winter, Jayme is leaving the Yukon on December 17.
This type of thing is not uncommon; a talented person with an adventure habit heads North and fits in like a thickening health care card. But as surely as they come, some will depart, leaving us to carry on.
I first got to know Jayme during Easter 2011, when a rag-tag group of semi-friends made tracks for Juneau and found bunks in Morgen Smith’s parents’ house. Over the course of three days we took Alaska’s capital up on its ample hospitality and emerged not as a collection of individuals but as a single unit.
I was particularly impressed with Jayme’s determination to party with rap star, Lil Jon, who was in town at the time.
To this day Jayme remains a reliable pal and a staunch ally in the war on boredom. So how are we, the left-behind, supposed to feel about the departure of such a pillar?
After all, who the hell does she think she is? She comes up here, has the nerve to make a bunch of close friends and then leaves us in the lurch the moment an amazing opportunity in the south arises. What are we, a fuckin’ pit stop?
But maybe there is a more Zen-like approach. Maybe there is a case to be made that the Yukon is not just a geographical region but also a state of mind.
It’s not as far fetched as one might think.
In a world that “shrinks” as communication technology expands, physical location loses some relevance. Bruce Willis (the local lawyer, not the movie star), for example, can practice Yukon law from Costa Rica.
And yet most Yukoners are adamant that our particular physical location is instrumental in forging the “the Yukon spirit.” Our harsh environment inclines us to boost dead cars with a smile, survive cold weather with a shrug and curse wet kindling with a frown.
My point is that while the land beneath our feet can be instrumental in constructing a worldview, that given worldview need no longer be confined to the land of its origins. Spies like Jayme can take the Yukon ethos with them, slowly expanding our mental borders under the noses of clueless cheechakos.
Admittedly it’s an arduous path to world domination, but at least it’s more humane than the Crusades.
Peter Jickling is a Whitehorse playwright and the assistant editor of What’s Up Yukon