Today marks exactly two years since this photo was taken. I had just arrived back in Perth, after having spent 19 days travelling across the Arctic regions of Scandinavia in search of the magical Northern Lights. I was home, but my mind was still halfway across the world, reliving an epic journey that had spanned 39,608km.
I had been lucky enough to see the Northern Lights twice, in Ivalo, but bad weather had prevented me from seeing any auroras in Tromso or Kiruna. My sojourns in those two places were characterised by clouds, rain and snow, so that the only colours I saw in the sky were varying shades of white and grey.
Whenever I took to the skies above these places and left the clutches of coldness behind, I was reminded that, although winter had shrouded the heavens in a thick blanket, at any given time only a few kilometres above our heads, there is always some sort of light shining steadfast in the sky. Whether it be from the sun, or the moon and the stars, or the dancing auroras of the polar circles, even if we cannot see them, they are there. Constants of the cosmos.
Once home, I did not have to worry about obscured skies anymore. I had returned smack bang in the middle of summer and was now guaranteed to see the sun each day, and a lot of it. In Europe, I’d missed the sun, but here it was no longer a pale golden orb that shone a fragile light over the snow (if, indeed, it surfaced at all). No, in Australia, in the middle of summer, the sun is a burning ball of fire that is best avoided in the peak of day. It is not until the late evening, when it begins its descent below the horizon, and a balmy sea breeze begins to blow from the coast, that it becomes pleasant to be outdoors. And on the evening of January 19, 2015, I was in for a real treat.
I had just gone outside to hang up some post holiday washing when the sight of this sky made me drop the washing and run inside to get my camera instead. Somehow, I had been transported back to the Arctic, because it felt like I was gazing not at a summer sunset, but at an alluring aurora. The way that vibrant pink haze spread across the violet sky, glowing brightly in the centre and wisping around the edges, before fading quietly into the night, was pure magic. I could even picture it dancing. It was a reminder that there is wonder and beauty all around us, and sometimes, we do not even have to travel beyond our own backyard to see it.