Two nights ago, I went hunting for aurora borealis, or the northern lights, by Lake Þingvallavatn, just east of the capital. For a small moment, I was the luckiest man alive. What a spectacle. For ten minutes or so.
Last night, I went to another lake, Lake Kleifarvatn, just south of the capital, to do the same thing, trying to get another set of images of the northern lights.
When I arrived, at half past eight, I counted 50 cars, waiting for the right moment.
At midnight, all were gone. Strikingly bright sky, with millions of stars shining brightly, NO northern lights.
I waited longer. With the Economist, my phone as a music player, and one Red Bull or two.
The playlist: ‘When The Night Was Young’ (Robbie Robertson), ‘You Are Not Alone’ (Mavis Staples), ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ (Aretha Franklin), ‘The Boxer’ (Mumford & Sons), ‘Big Freeze’ (Muse), ‘Time Is On My Side’ (The Rolling Stones), ‘Ho Hey’ (The Lumineers), ‘Save the Day’ (Claire de Lune), and ‘Ramada Inn’ with Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Next was ‘Wonderful World’ with Sam Cooke, but before the 18-minute-long Neil Young song had ended, the northern lights started to shine.
At two o’clock in the morning.
Not as bright or intensive as the night before.
But I was glad, that I waited and waited, the last man standing, by Lake Kleifarvatn.
My ears almost froze off. That is the price you pay ... if you don’t take your beanie with you, in the northern wind called aurora.
Páll Stefánsson - firstname.lastname@example.org