artArctica

artists with a passion for the Arctic

Looking back on Spring: Northern Lights

It was the 17th March 2015. The sun was out.  Since I had a free morning, it was meant to be the day for the first swim in the sea after the winter-break. I walked along the coast. The ice  wouldn’t allow me to break through yet. I finally arrived at a peer that reaches far into the sea. The ice got thinner at the end of the peer and there was a ladder reaching down into this thin crust of ice.  I took my clothes off, and made my way down the ladder. My breath was waking up, my naked body broke through the crust. I felt privilege to deeply sense and take part in the process to break free from the winter cover, honoured to perform this rite of spring.

The same night: I had already retreated from that day’s obligations and was lying in my bed when my housemate called me out: “There is something strange going on in the sky. Come out on the rock. It could be Northern lights.” I had never seen Northern light in my life before. So I walked out. Gentle green wafts just above the horizon, definitely moving but I could not quite make out of what kind those movements were. The wafts sometimes grew a bit higher and then again smaller. It was impossible to tell apart what my eyes made up or what my perception created and what was really happening out here. The twilight zone between my personal subjective fantasies and something that others are definitely also able to perceive as well became clear to me.

I put on my warmest winter-clothes and grabbed a camping mat to be set up for staying out all night. The green wafts became clearer and bigger over time; their movements stronger, boiling up from all around the horizon in order to unify in the center; sometimes resolving again or getting smaller. Yet on some occasions, they reached an intensity that rushed over me like a light shower. My perception of space and myself in space was something that I had never experienced before.

I could have never imagined that I would still come across something in my age that puts me in such awe and amazement. Children might encounter mind-blowing eccentric experiences on a regular basis, being in a point in their life when there are still so many “new” things to be explored and discoverer, but those excitements deaden with growing up. Soon comes expectation that so much has been played through and discovered already that yet another of those “new” things won’t make a difference anymore. But lying there under the light shower made any idea of age vanish completely.

I thought about how much sense it suddenly made that people in former times, who did not know that there is a physical explanation behind the phenomenon aurora borealis, had to develop a belief in some supreme being, a God or creator.  I myself felt like being in the middle of a spiritual trip; without any drugs. Just nature: the most powerful creator and the biggest artist there is.

Gesa (DE/FI) is a contemporary dancer, choreographer and pedagogue fascinated by the wilderness. She currently lives in Helsinki.

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