aurora borealis ; is this really my life…

And what really matter is that she found herself again, among the lights in the sky and the ground underneath her. She had been waiting for a sign, and this was it. Life is what you make of it and she realized just what a great life she has been making. She would call herself a lucky girl, but it was more than luck and she knew it. She made these things happen. She worked for it. She put herself out there. And she learned that she can do anything and go anywhere. Nothing was stopping her. Nothing to hold her back except herself.

Sometimes I write in the third person when I am writing little things that come to my head. Even when they are about myself. I am not sure why I do it, but I do.

Lately I have been realizing just how ‘lucky’ I am, only I am also realizing it is not luck. The reason I have had such a great life has been the work I have put into making my life great. I decided to go to teacher’s college in Australia, so I applied and worked for it. I became a teacher which may not give me many opportunities at home, but it has given me opportunities to travel and see the world. I am not even sure I really believe in luck. I believe in working towards what you want to achieve and making it happen, not just sitting back and expecting some sort of luck to make it so.

Though perhaps I have been ‘lucky’ while living in this beautiful territory of Canada, I have experienced what we call the ‘aurora borealis’, aka the northern lights. I had never seen them before, as they are not usually visible in the places I have lived previously. And I knew that living here I would likely finally get to experience them for myself, it was one of the reasons I chose to move up here.

Ever since I was younger, I have been fascinated with the sky. While I was growing up, I used to sneak outside into my backyard and lie on my deck and stare up at the stars on clear nights. Whenever at cottages, or places outside the city limits, where the stars were more visible, I would spend time just star gazing alone. These days, any time I read about possible planet sightings, meteor showers, and other such sky related phenomenon, I do my best to go outside and attempt to see these incredible spectacles. Sometimes missing out due to my location not being suitable for such a viewing. But nonetheless, I try. And this was a big motivator for me to move up to the Yukon for the school year, the possibility of seeing the northern lights. And boy has it paid off.

My first attempt at seeing the lights was weak at best. I went with a person I had just met up here and to be honest, I could only see a faint glow, barely visible to the eye. But of course more visible to the camera. I was underwhelmed. After that attempt, I decided I would try going out myself whenever the forecast for the lights looked promising. The next time I went out, I drove out to a lake and saw nothing, so I drove half way up Grey Mountain in an attempt to get above the fog and see them. This is what I would describe as my first real viewing of the Northern Lights. Although faint, I saw green bands across the sky and was able to capture pictures, which were not the greatest, as I was still learning to set my camera up for night photography.

First Attempt at Northern Lights Photography

First Attempt at Northern Lights Photography

First Attempt at Northern Lights Photography

First Attempt at Northern Lights Photography

So as you can see from the pictures, my first attempt at taking pictures of the lights was amateur at best. I had figured out the shutter speeds, and had them set to 15 and 20 seconds, but the focus on my camera was not right and the trees just look like silhouettes, which is fine, but nothing special. It was good practice, and at least I have decent pictures from my first real northern lights experience.

Fast forward to a night out with my roommate Holly, and her friend, who took me with them to try and see the lights. We were excited because there was also talk of a meteor shower happening simultaneously. We drove out to a place, parked the car and walked quite a ways, only to not really have a good line of sight for them. So we packed up and went to her a property her friends owns outside of town and we were able to see a decent view of a green band of light across the sky. I snapped a few good pictures and was pretty happy, although to be honest, the camera was able to capture the lights better than the eye can see. And as great as that is for my northern lights photography practice, it was once again a little underwhelming. I love the pictures I got, but was really hoping for more of a show. I even was able to snap a few pictures of the red lights that night, even though the red northern lights were barely visible to the eye. I could see them faintly, but my companions less so.
Second attempt at Northern Lights Photos

The red lights barely visible to the eye

My favourite picture taken on my second attempt at northern lights photography

Moving on to this weekend… Holly and I decided to attempt to see and capture the Northern Lights as they were forecasted to be ‘extreme’ all weekend. We set out for Fish Lake on Friday night, but gave up fairly quickly due to the overcast skies. Saturday night, while out at a comedy show, I was able to see the lights from outside the venue during intermission. I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait until I was home to set out in chase of the lights again. But by the time we arrived at Fish Lake, the sky turned overcast and though my camera was able to pick up a green haze in the clouds, it was not worth spending hours waiting for the fog to clear. We gave up for the night. Sunday night came upon us, and we were no longer willing to go to Fish Lake, we set our sights higher and earlier. We drove out to Carcross (45-60 minute drive from downtown Whitehorse) in order to attempt viewing from the Carcross Desert.
The Carcross Desert is my favourite place here. I have spent a few days alone in the desert since I got here, just wandering around. It is referred to as the ‘world’s smallest desert’ but in actual fact it is a series of northern sand dunes. Nonetheless it is beautiful, whether winter or summer. Surrounded by mountains, you can’t help but feel happy and at peace. So we drive there for just after 9pm and we were right on time for the most amazing show in the sky I have ever encountered. We watched as mountains looked as though they were volcanoes, erupting with green lava. We witnessed green lights dance across the sky. We saw green bands of light make their way from behind one mountain, over another and into yet another. It was breathtaking. It was surreal. It almost brought me to tears. The thing that really got me, was that I was experiencing this. It was my choice to come here, to be there in that moment. It made me truly appreciate what a wonderful life I lead. Here I am, 28 years old, and I have ticked off so many things on people’s bucket lists. I have lived in 3 different countries, and different parts of my own country. I have played with tigers, stood on crocodiles, snorkelled in oceans, witnessed the aurora borealis, and so many more amazing experiences. And still more to come. In those moments, as I watched the green lights move through the sky, I could’ve cried. It was emotional. It was phenomenal. It was surreal. I don’t have a bucket list per se, but I do have places I wish to go and things I wish to see in my life time. And I am living my life in a way that I am able to experience the things I wish to.

Just a quick pose with the lights

Staring up at the lights

Aurora Volcanus

a little light meditation?

My favourite of the bunch

Needless to say, the aurora borealis light show was my favourite moment in the Yukon so far. And this last display was the first time I am able to say I really experienced it. The pictures actually do not even do it justice. As amazed as I am by my ability to capture the lights, and with the help of the bright mood, the ability to capture myself with the lights, the live show was something no photo can ever really capture. Not only was it spectacular to witness, it brought a new perspective into my mind that I had been trying to grasp lately. It’s amazing how a natural light display in the sky can make you truly appreciate how fantastically wonderful your life truly is. And how you are responsible for your own life, and it can only be what you choose to make it. I hope that everyone has the chance to experience something like this, whether it be the actual witnessing of the aurora borealis, or just experience something in their life that makes them appreciate their own lives. I can honestly say I have had multiple moments in my life where it felt surreal. And I hope that feeling continues throughout my life.

To sum it up… Th

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