Galileo Galilei gave the northern lights their Latin name Aurora Borealis. A fitting description, to say the least.
I’m travelling through inland Lapland, on my way home from a meeting in Arvidsjaur, and I have to stop the car. By lake Svergoträsk, outside Sorsele, the sky is a bright, neon green. I exit the car and am greeted by the crisp cold. I’m stood absolutely still, listening. It’s as if the northern lights were crackling. Sometimes we say this, that we can hear the northern lights, but I don’t really think we do. The cold makes the trees crackle, the ice and the ground. It’s the cold making the sounds, rather than the heavenly phenomenon I’m watching. Or perhaps it’s my own will, my own fantasy, that something so lovely has to have a sound. But tonight and at this very moment there’s no other light, no other car, house or TV as far as my eyes can see. There’s nothing to interrupt the starry sky ablaze with colours. It’s just me and nature, in the middle of the forest, as I am treated to this show courtesy of two mythological gods: Aurora and Borealis. From where I’m standing the sky is a giant film screen and the silence is a thundering orchestra.