Day 21 — Stöðvarfjörður (and LIGHTS!)

Yes, stuff happened. Yes, I did things.

But does any of that matter in comparison to the spectacular Northern Lights show we had last night?

Probably not.

It didn’t look good for the Lights in the morning and early afternoon. It was incredibly windy (sustained winds of 35 mph and gusts up to 60) and it had been raining hard all day.

But the skies cleared by sunset and it was gorgeous with a bright, low-hanging moon. Sure, it was still windy, but there were big portions of the sky that were clear.

I had a feeling we might get some aurora action this evening because the sky was relatively clear and the forecast on each of my five aurora apps was looking good.

But first, I took some amazing photos coming back up to the house at the end of Civil Twilight:

And then came the lights. I got an alert around 8:30 p.m. and went outside. Another of the artists here texted the group that the aurora was faint, but should pick up within a half-hour or so.

We all wound up on a hill about 100 yards above town watching until the aurora petered out and we went back inside.

At around 10:00, I got another alert and went back out. It was a bit cold, but incredibly windy. I wondered back up to where I’d seen the lights earlier, but couldn’t see anything. I was on the way back when I looked up and saw a bright ribbon across the sky. I went to the big field across from the house where I’m staying and watched for about 45 minutes as the green light moved and danced over my head. The wind threatened to blow me over and I thought about going inside, but I waited until the ribbon faded.

Then at 11:30, there was another text about an even bigger show of lights. I went back out again and could instantly see the bright green band right outside.

I managed to get a pretty good video (aurora videos are much harder to get than still photos because usually you can get your camera to hold the lens open longer to get a good still, but the video just records what the naked eye can see) and there was a decent display that only lasted about ten minutes.

All in all, this was the best and most intense aurora experience I’ve had.

If you’ve never seen the aurora in person, it is many, many, many times better than seeing photos or videos. We’re in a peak aurora year (the aurora goes in 11-year cycles) and it’s been visible far further south than most years. So… get out there if you can. As good as you think it is, the experience of seeing full-on Northern Lights in person is even better.

One of my favorite pieces I’ve written here is a new origin myth about the aurora. I could always understand intellectually how people would see the Northern Lights and think of gods and celestial beings, but now I get it on a deeper emotional level. Right down to my bones.

Also, the moon looked pretty amazing as the winds blew the clouds in front of it (and I also wrote a new origin myth explaining how the moon came to be and what it symbolizes):

More later.

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