Tromso: Third Time’s the Charm
A swirl of muted green adorned the velvet sky, hanging above the stack of houses like a monochrome rainbow that came out after rain – that was my first northern-light encounter. My Panasonic Lumix GH4 did an ace job of dramatising the colours, so that the green saturated to a picturesque glow. But how entirely purposeless it is to live life through a viewfinder. We left the spot and beelined for the mountaintop.
Every passing hour whittled our hope and resolve, and the minus-four-degree temperature did little to lift our spirits. By now everyone was quaking, burrowing hands into tight pockets and jacket sleeves. Some retreated to the comfort of the heated car for a respite. Against the might of the biting cold and relentless chilly wind, the leaping fire Andrei our guide built was impotent. He plied us with hot cocoa as well as traditional Norwegian snacks like reindeer sausages, and temporarily we were whisked to a happier place.
And then, without warning, not one any app could augur, the swirl of light intensified in colour. All things on ground came to a still, and the numbing winter cold was forgotten. Entrancing verdant flames came alive, so that the entire sky became a lush garden of sorts. Oh, how the lights danced with grace like carefree nymphs, in rhythm but to no music! This was no camera trick. Then again without warning, as they are wont to do, shelves of white and violet hues zigzagged across the sky, overlapping the green, stealing our breath. All eyes were fixated on this inexplicable beauty.
Human beings may have invented many gadgets, but none can match the brilliance of this natural visual experience. The best things in life are indeed free. That night, I went back to my Airbnb apartment, knackered but filled with unbridled joy.