Northern Lights.


The aurora borealis has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I saw photos of these dazzling lights tucked in some old issues of National Geographic–I might have been around 8 or 9? They held me in awe and since then I haven’t loosened myself from their grip. Science explains that the sun emits coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and once these solar gases hit the earth’s magnetic field, they form curtains of light–aurora borealis or aurora australis (depending on the location). Norse mythology on the other hand relates three possible reasons for the appearance of these norðrljós. According to them, (1) glaciers could have glowed as they stored energy, (2) the ocean could have been surrounded by fire, and (3) sun flares could probably reach  around the world to its night side. I have little reason to not trust science but for tonight, I go with the romance of myths and legends for it was on a similar night when these images of the northern lights came to me via email.

I don’t know what it is about friendship and these images that made me want to write about this tonight. Originally, I had just wanted to talk about the circumstances by which these photos arrived. It was a lonely night three days after Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) had hit. I was staring listless at my screen trying to piece together my thoughts on the disaster when all of a sudden I had received a phone call via Skype from dear Andy, my Austrian friend, who was at the time studying in Norway. We spoke for a good twenty minutes until I told him that I had to go. I hadn’t seen him since February when they were last here with my other friend, his other half, Lisa. Meeting them is a story on its own which I will tell eventually.

Right now, in the case of these lights, I am sticking with myths because that evening when Andy called, the oceans had been set on fire and a soft gust of warm wind made its way from cold Norway to warm Manila where I felt, post-Pablo, that it was possibly colder here than anywhere else.


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