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Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

Last year, the temptation to see the Aurora Borealis grew beyond being a number on my bucket list. I could not resist anymore. So I booked my trip to Iceland for 2 weeks in December 2014. My excitement came crashing down when my friend educated me that seeing the Aurora Borealis is not guaranteed. It’s a matter of right weather conditions and location within the country.

With that, off I went to Iceland with more realistic expectations while hoping to get lucky.  

And oh boy! I got lucky seven times! Each time, the Aurora was beautiful and more stunning. But there were two sightings that were the most memorable of all.

 .  .  .

MEMORABLE

The first of these sightings was when I saw the Aurora with my photo tour group at Glacier Lagoon in Jökulsárlón. Picture this – serene, pure and jaw-dropping beauty of the Glacier Lagoon; stunning Aurora Borealis that stretched across the sky with its reflection in the water giving you double vision; Milky Way that lit up the entire sky and made you feel like it was within arm’s reach; and a distant red glow from the Holuhraun Volcanic eruption. All of these natural wonders captured in one frame! Simply mind-blowing.

And to top it off, I heard little bubble blips – the playful movements of seals in the lagoon. I could not see them in the darkness. But I could hear them break the starry night silence for a split second. It was a different feeling knowing that you couldn’t see the seals, but you could hear their movements in such close proximity. It was an unreal feeling.

Black Sand Beach at Jökulsárlón, Iceland. 

UNFORGETTABLE

My most unforgettable experience, however, occurred on my second-to-last night in Iceland. And it was nothing short of luck that I got to see it. After our hardworking, exhausting and rewarding one-week photo tour, relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, seemed like the perfect way to end my trip. No camera, no agenda and no time restraints. This was my time to finally indulge in pure relaxation. And indulge I did.

I took my sweet time with everything and when done, glided over to the restaurant area.

My spa zen-like euphoria quickly got replaced with a sense of urgency as I laid my eyes on the clock. I had 5 minutes to run to the bus stop or wait for two hours for the next bus. I was done and the decision was a no-brainer. I got my skates on and rushed over to the bus stop. And as I waited to hop on the bus, the Aurora Borealis made an appearance.

OH EMMM GEEEEEEE!  Of all the previous six sightings I had experienced, this was undoubtedly the strongest (level 5 or above) of them all! The Aurora lit up the entire sky from left to right like a ginormous thick rainbow. The greens and reds were vibrant & clearly visible to the naked eye.

Aurora Borealis at Jökulsárlón, Iceland. 

Then, the Aurora decided to put on a private show for me as we drove towards Reykjavík. The green rainbow broke into two bands and they danced before my eyes with elegance, grace & spirit in its purest form. No time-lapse needed. And with every movement, it made my soul dance with it. The Aurora was mesmerizing and beyond belief or description!

As I found myself captivated by the green beauty and her grace, I took a moment to reflect. In two weeks, I had experienced artfully sculpted ice caves, a black sand beach with stunning pieces of ice shimmering on the beach, a glacier lagoon, stunning waterfalls, Icelandic horses and sheep, all kinds of extreme weather conditions, and the Aurora Borealis … all for the first time in my life!

As I reflected on my time in Iceland, and my life journey to date, I was overcome with one thought – If I died right now, I would die happy and fulfilled. Not content, but fulfilled.

No baggage. No unfinished business. And no regrets.

I have never experienced such overwhelming feelings of true freedom and inner peace. My soul was empty, and that emptiness was fulfilling.

I recognized that it took all of my life’s struggles, pain, tears, joy, appreciation and learning, to finally arrive at this destination. It was decades in the making. Even I could not have dreamt of such a beautiful and soulful end to my time in Iceland.

I hope that when my time comes, regardless of the circumstances of my death, that I have presence of mind and time to transcend myself to this particular moment in time and re-live these feelings. Now that I’m aware of this feeling, it’s the only way I want to die – happy, fulfilled and with a genuine hearty smile.  

While immersed in the incredible dance of the Aurora, I found myself yearning for my camera. Simultaneously, I reveled in the absence of it. Sometimes, these moments are best experienced by immersing yourself entirely and saving them as memories captured by your soul, not the camera.

RESOURCES

What causes Aurora Borealis  — NASA SDO
Wikipedia — Basics of Northern Lights 
Weather forecast — Icelandic Met Office 

Published: March 4, 2015

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