This past weekend, Carmel, IN hosted the Midwest Ice Carving Championships. Professional carvers from around the midwest gathered together in downtown Carmel for several days of fun and instruction regarding the art of shaping and carving ice. As long as it remains cold, the displays will line Main Street and you wouldn’t believe the number of citizens and guests who stop by to snap photos of these beautiful ice sculptures.
This has become an annual event in our community and this morning, on our way to church, we drove past the latest creations. They were magnificent. A skeleton pirate, a beautiful sailing schooner, various sea creatures and Snoopy laying on his doghouse were among the best of the best this year. There was even a Loch Ness monster that was unusually awesome!
I always wondered how they got the ice so clear – so transparent. In fact, it is so clear that you can see the buildings on Main Street behind the creations. I know that some of the sculptors start with chain saws but then they have a variety of tools that help them carve the intricate patterns and shapes that wind up being in the finished product.
Finally, things are finished and the judges travel down the street looking at and grading each creation. The whole experience is a highlight of the winter season in Carmel.
This year, there were local articles that described how the ice is harvested and what makes it so clear. It turns out that the best ice in the world for carving comes from a lake near Fairbanks, Alaska. It is called Diamond Arctic ice. Fairbanks hosts the largest ice carving championships in the world where more than 100 teams compete in a variety of categories – attracting more than 45,000 visitors each year.
Each harvested block of ice is 2.5′ x 5′ x 8′ tall and weighs more than 7200 pounds. In the Multi-Block competition, the finished works can weigh more than 20 tons and are more than 25′ tall – imagine that! And the ice is so clear that you can easily read a newspaper through a block of ice more than 4′ thick! That Diamond Arctic ice must really be something!
For entertaining the kids, there is the Kid’s Park which boasts all the usual playground equipment – all made entirely of ice! From the Fairbanks website, we are told that “the park will include slides and rides for all ages, mazes and life-sized sculptures of animals, and characters to touch and climb on. The Ice Art Park will also feature an “ice stage” for various performances, ice skating rink, ice cabin, ice obstacle course and even a Slide-A-Mile challenge.” How fun!
The ice is harvested from a nearby lake next to the park and the teams at the World Ice Championships use more than 4,000,000 (that’s 4 million) pounds of ice each year. It is cut in blocks after laser lines identify where the cuts should be made. The ice freezes quickly and clearly making it ideal for the competition. Teams claim that Arctic Diamond is the best ice in the world for sculpting.
When Janet and I were in Fairbanks we learned a fun fact about the city. It turns out the Fairbanks has the greatest temperature variance throughout the year – from 100 degrees in the summer to -40 in the winter. No other city in the country can boast that range of temperature.
Clearly, I’ve learned quite a bit about ice sculpting this week. But what really prompted me to investigate is how these sculptures are so incredibly transparent. They are simply beautiful!
The whole thing reminds me of Scripture. Most of us are familiar with the famous love chapter in 1 Corinthians. You know the one – “Love is patient, love is kind…” But few of us know what comes next and those lines become our verse for tonight. Paul, the author of 1 Corinthians tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
What Paul is trying to tell us is that right now, we don’t see God clearly – we see a poor reflection. But some day, when we are in heaven, we will see God CLEARLY – face to face. Although God already knows us, we will fully know Him. What a difference in our viewpoint – it was all I could think about as I was viewing these wonderful sculptures.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to believe in Him and see Him clearly some day! My prayer is that we will be awestruck when we finally see and know God fully. Something tells me that it will be quite different from the poor reflection we see as we dwell on the earth – and certainly mucb grander than Diamond Arctic ice! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…