Between lazy pulses of swell, glossy black waves reflect shimmers of starlight. The clamouring voices of the boat’s other passengers have faded to silence now I’ve found this secluded spot on the prow. I perch high on a railing, turn my face towards the cold North Star, and for the first time in days it feels like I’m alone.

The aurora isn’t as bright or strong as I’d hoped for, but the skies are clear and the constellations have been peppered by the silver streaks of shooting stars ever since we left Reykjavik harbour. Dim or not, the green glowing ripples in the sky are unmistakable. It’s taken me thirty three years, and it still feels a little surreal, but there across the horizon are the northern lights.

Now that I’m here I’m not sure how I expected to feel, but I didn’t anticipate this sense of peace. I’ve slipped away from my brother and my friends to watch this by myself, and I’m glad for the solitude. The icy wind prickling at my face, the quiet menacing depths of the sea beneath, and the illuminated expanse of the inky sky above have all conspired to reorder my thoughts. The tranquility is infectious. There’s serenity in the stillness.

The city glows golden behind me. My eyes are transfixed by the faint ribbon of green that flickers and burns out in front. I sip whisky from the hip flask I smuggled aboard and try to soak up every detail. It’ll be time to turn back soon enough.


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