Task: See a Natural Wonder of the World

I am on a reindeer sledding expedition in Swedish Lapland.  We’re driving reindeer and getting a glimpse into the life of the indigenous and formerly nomadic Samí people.

Tonight we’re spending the night in a tent.  We’ve lined up our sleeping bags, as close to the woodburner as possible.  We’ve eaten our reindeer mince, we’ve discussed the weather (we do this constantly, it’s like monitoring the boss’s moods).

We’re drinking bottled beer and taking it in informal turns to watch for the Northern Lights.  The starry starry night sky is already magical.  Then one of the people in our group, Kaija, suddenly shouts out and we lumber outside in our layers of ski-pants and thermals.

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis describes a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere.  The charged particles originate in the magnetosphere and solar wind and, on Earth, are directed by the Earth’s magnetic field into the atmosphere.  So says Wikipedia.

But all that can’t begin to describe the lights.  We see flouro green, changing colour and changing shape, in front of our eyes.  Lighting up the sky. Dancing, swooping, flashing, leaping, breezing through the sky.  Ghostly and glittering, filling the night sky. There is something joyful about the lights.

Spectacular nature does its unique thing for us.  It’s a privilege to see this.  And then it’s over and gone.  And we are back to our sleeping bags, all of us enervated by what we have seen.  And all of us also praying we wouldn’t need to get out of our sleeping bags to pee in the middle of the -20 night.

My trip was organised by Nature Travels Ltd. Phone: 01929 503080  www.naturetravels.co.uk

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