There are a lot of really good reasons to travel. Here’s one: By pushing yourself into new places, moments inevitably happen that show us how incredibly beautiful our planet is, how tiny and fragile we are upon it, and yet how much we are connected to it, all in an instant.
Last night, we saw a spectacular outburst of the Aurora Borealis in the Canadian sky. By itself, it created a life moment that we will never forget. But we got to see this amazing planetary show while sitting on a boat, near 11 p.m., in the middle of a flat-black Ahmic Lake in the forested Canadian highlands, on a brilliantly clear, freakishly warm and dead calm late-summer night, with the Milky Way stretched overhead. It felt like we were floating in space, almost weightless, as flames of green and, occasionally, pink, danced across the northern sky and reflected off the black glass of the lake. From a boat, it was fruitless to attempt to photograph it. You just had to enjoy it, and be present, every second. But someone on the shore that night snapped the picture that accompanies this post and put it up on the Magnetawan town Facebook page.
Two of the hardiest women in our party seized the moment to strip down and dive into the chilly lake, so that they could not only see the Northern Lights, but swim naked beneath them. Our host, who has spent a lifetime of summers and a few winters in this part of the world, said it was the finest showing of the Aurora she had ever seen.
So much joy, and laughter, and silence, and awe. In an hour, just before midnight, it was over. There are so many ways we could have missed it. And yet we didn’t.
It was almost like the planet itself was putting on an end-of-summer party just for us. Indescribable. And unforgettable. Thank you, Debbie Sperry Kerr, for allowing us to be there for it, and for sharing an incredible week in your slice of heaven that became our slice of heaven.