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Finding Aurora

“The Aurora Borealis is a fickle phenomenon. A week can pass without a flicker … then bang! The Northern Lights come on like a celestial lava lamp.” — Nigel Tisdall

I went to Iceland expecting to be disappointed by the weather. I’m not a pessimist by nature, but the forecast simply didn’t look good. There are a lot of reasons to go to Iceland in winter, but the primary reason is to see the Aurora Borealis. Yes, there are waterfalls and volcanoes, geysers and glaciers. These are spectacular, but also things that you can see any old month. But the Northern Lights are more evasive than that. Dark, clear skies are merely a starting point. You must also have some luck. Winter brings ample darkness but also some challenging weather conditions. We put ourselves in the way of beauty, but a bit of luck goes a long way too.

Sure enough, we arrived to heavy snow. That might have frustrated me, but I’d already seen the Northern Lights on this trip. We’d had an ace up our sleeve, a window seat facing north for the flight, which carried us over the snow-laden clouds, up where auroras dance. It’s there that I finally glimpsed it, checking a box I wondered when I’d ever get to. There’s still hope for more dances with Aurora, should the weather cooperate, beginning tonight. Bucket lists deserve more than a brief encounter to savor, don’t you think?

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