The Elusive Northern Lights

“Don’t you see them?”

“No.”

“Right there. A glimmer. Look.”

I squinted my eyes then opened them wider. I focused on the area he was pointing to. And I didn’t see anything.

“Here. Let me take a picture. Then maybe you’ll see them. Sometimes the lens of a camera sees more than the eyes of a human.”

But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted the full, techni-color, dancing across the sky, visible to the naked eye version of the northern lights.He snapped a digital photo, the lens open for a quarter of a minute. He brought the display to me.

“See? See? Right there – do you see a bit of green?”

Again, I squinted. I turned the display to the left and to the right. I really didn’t see anything. But also didn’t want to appear to be contrary.

“Maybe…”

“Wait! Let’s go to the other side of the mountain!”

And we were off. From one side of the mountain to the other. To the observatory hill, where NATO used to have operations. Through the tunnel, to a lookout spot high on the hill. And always the same. He claiming a slight glimmer, me dubious. In each new spot, we’d get out, walk around in the freezing temperatures, look from the mountains to the sea and back, then get back into the car. And watch. And wait. And watch. Then drive to another spot.

After several hours of this, he suggested we call it a night. Disappointed, I agreed. Oh, northern lights.

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