- On March 24, 2015
Last week I was in Iceland and had the good fortune to have one absolutely clear night in a notorious winter of snow, rain, high winds, and cloudy skies.
The ‘northern lights’ were visible in full force. I have never experienced anything so spectacular!
As the light geen ‘clouds’ twisted into long lazy ropes and then flattened into wide flowing curtains, my first impulse was to capture this amazing moment on film. After three or four shots leaving only a black screen I put my little camera away and made a choice to just immerse myself in the show without being preoccupied with light settings and aperture speeds.
By pocketing my camera, I was now fully engaged in the present.
The heavens showed its glory on a grand scale that night. The spectacle went on for almost two hours, in a constantly changing dynamic of shapes, lengths, colors, intensity. At several points I was surrounded by a 360 degree panorama of light formations.
Lying on the icy moss in the dark, breathing in the frosty air, soaking in this natural wonder, I felt so grateful to be alive at that moment.
And I acutely felt my smallness, a speck of carbon in the cosmos witnessing this immense glory.
I felt humbled by that feeling of insignificance. And awed…open…grounded. And I realized there’s been too little awe in my daily life.
Sometimes I get too wrapped up in myself and what Iwant. Does this happen to you too?
I act like the world revolves around me. I close myself to what is going on outside of what is important to me.
I don’t acknowledge the robin chirping outside my office window, heralding the coming of warmer days.
I don’t hear the doubt in my friend’s voice as she struggles to make a difficult decision.
I don’t really listen when my husband tells me about his day.
I don’t slow down to appreciate the tart creaminess of the lemon-tahini dressing on my salad.
Feeling my infinite smallness against the vast wonders of the northern sky was a startling reminder that being open to each encounter, to be fully present with what is in front of me right now, to relish the ethereal dynamics of that moment, is where joy and awe live.
Photo: chris kolaczan@Shutterstock