Northern Lights and The Dark. (Stargazing.)

Tonight was supposed to be one of the best nights to see the Northern Lights.

A peaceful, still and clear night - we set off into the darkness (with torches in our pockets) in search of the Northern Lights (or 'Aurora Borealis'). 

On the car journey my mind wandered in a calm sort of wavering way, and I had little thoughts about art activism and new friends that I would like to make.

We drove to Arthurs' Seat, a well-known hill in Edinburgh at the bottom of the Royal Mile and near the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood House and Dynamic Earth. On the other side of the hill is Duddingston Loch (from the famous painting) and a really awesome pub called The Sheep Heid Inn.

Anyway, that's besides the point. All of this was in the hope that we could escape the city lights a little and walk up the hill through the cold wind in order to see what my dad and sister described as "something kindof greenish blue that is like glowing light or maybe flashing". Great. Helpful.

The gate to drive further up the hill was closed and blocked off and there was still so much light pollution from the city that we thought it best to drive out further.

A passing fox in the headlights, conversation drifting from science to schools to superstition, we found ourselves in Portobello.

On getting out of the car, and feeling the fresh sea air whip our hair out from under our scarves, we could hear the gentle swish of the sea and were informed by my dad "That way is North" (he has a 'compass' app - but doesn't ever seem to need it as he is somewhat of a walking talking map).

We were not alone. A little way along the grass sat a couple clearly on the same quest. Staring determinedly North at the sky, and clearly in it for the long haul, they produced a blanket from their nearby car and began to snuggle on the wooden bench. I thought it was one of the cutest things I had seen in a long time.

The night was still very quiet, and no sign of the lights.

We got back into the car to continue on our adventure.

Further into the countryside we went, further from the bright lights of the city, past Port Seton and Cockenzie Power Station. 

It made me think alot about a song which had lyrics that seemed to somehow make sense at this moment:

"While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light"

- Elton John / Bernie Taupin

Losing touch with nature and losing perspective are such easy things to do in this day and age.

We took a few wrong turnings and down some twisty country roads in an area that was not familiar, and certainly wasn't familiar in this kind of darkness.

We drew into a clearing (which could have been an 'official car park', or could have just been random flat grass, it was that dark - I have no idea). In a sortof creepy weird 'cult-y' sort of way, there were several other cars there - doing exactly the same. It was like a little stargazing convention. I put the recent broadcasting of 'Stargazing Live' on UK television to blame. Everybody was simply sitting in their cars staring North....

The moon lit the sea in a silvery haze, that was simply magical, and, although we didn't catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, it didn't matter. It was just so beautiful, quiet and peaceful.

Filled with silent melancholy and inner philosophical ponderings, I began to reflect on the past year, some of the difficult events, and how they all seemed so small in comparison with how big the world is, and how many stars there are in the sky.

I began to dream a little of travels and nature.

"Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. " - Yeats.

(These pictures are not mine, merely to try and give some feeling or 'mood' to how it was - I left my camera at home because I thought it would be too dark...)
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  1. What a lovely post- dreamy photos. Hope to travel north someday and see this celestial artwork!

    1. Oh thankyou! :) (and yes, me too! Thinking about going to Iceland at some point so might see a spectacular display there if I'm in luck!)



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