Photo Journal

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26 Feb, 2008

As we walk out of aircraft at the afternoon airport, cold air feels pleasant and it assures me that we are about entering the Arctic. The temperature is minus 16 degree. As I walk over the snow dazzling in the defused light typical to high latitude regions, I feel excited to have come this far.

As we are going to stay in Yellow Knife only one night, I long to see the Northern Light tonight regardless of anything. But as this depends on the weather, the earth's electro-magnetic fields and the solar winds that come from the space, only thing I can do is just to wish. After everyone has gone to bed, while I carry on working, I sometimes peek out of the window into the sky. As if I open the mail box hoping to find a long-waited letter from someone, I look for the lights in the dark winter sky. It is passed one o'clock and as I have written this in my journal, I close my laptop. "At Yellow Knife, starry night but no Aurora Borealis. It's a pity".

I flip pages of a coffee-table book of Northern Light in order to console myself, but that works the other way. But I learn many things about Aurora Borealis. It was named so by Galileo Galilei, it was mentioned in Old Testament, it was painted in ancient cave painting in France and a theory that the Chinese Dragon legend came from Aurora Borealis. In lower latitude country, unlike Yellow Knife which is right on the Aurora Oval, it must have been so unusual to see the Northern Lights, and in old times before photographs, one can imagine how much people were surprised.

Before I go to bed, I look up the sky for once and last, there I find a bluish white band across the sky. It has appeared as soon as I have given up. I put on my warm clothes quickly, grab the camera and the tripod and run outside. I run toward the Northern Light, away from any electric lights. Dancing Northern Light is like music without sound played by the frigid air.

February 26, our departure date happens to be my birthday. I find it hard to sleep tonight full of feeling that I was born and am living on this planet.

Noriko Miyashita