It was just after midnight on September 28 when the cell phone rang. I was up playing Donkey Kong on the Wii after a few failed attempts to sleep, so I grabbed the phone and saw that it was Grant, the site administrator and school principal. A few emergency scenarios flashed through my mind—ones involving Kim’s bones and blood—but then I remembered she was fast asleep in the bedroom, so Grant’s call had to be about something else.
“The Northern Lights are out!” he said.
“Oh!” I was so relieved. “Do I just walk outside and look?” I asked, quickly standing up.
“Wake Kim up,” he said.
“Ok, thanks!” I tossed the phone on the couch and ran to the back of the house to tell Kim.
While she was getting ready, I hurried outside to get a sneak peak of the gazing session we’d have later. Kim rushed outside still pulling up her rain boots. In all the excitement I’d forgotten to throw on some shoes, and my toes were freezing on the icy boardwalks, so I ran back in to put on shoes.
Bundled up and bursting with excitement, we skated the frosty boardwalks to an edge of the village where we stood with Grant’s family, looking out at the lights that come out only a couple times a year here.
They’re much brighter and more colorful the further north you go, but from where we are on the globe, we could see the white and green-ish strips of light painting the black background of sky. “Happy birthday!” Kim said, her warm breath turning into little clouds when it hit the cold air. When Grant’s family left, we ended up laying flat on the boardwalk and watching the stars and lights.
Our pictures didn’t capture the lights, really, so this is the only decent shot of the night:
The next morning (still my birthday), Kim woke up at 6:30 or something crazy like that to make a breakfast casserole for my birthday. She’d wrapped up some gifts with what random colored paper she could find, and they were sitting on the nightstand waiting to be opened. The celebration continued all day long, complete with wonderful gifts all the way from Texas!
Since this is such a tiny village with only about 350 people, news spreads fast, so as I sat in the hallway on a break during the school day, the kids showered me with birthday greetings and big smiles. Kim topped the day off with a chocolate cake and some coffee that night.
It was one of the many unforgettable days I’ve had here, and the Northern Lights showing up just past midnight (obviously a birthday gift from God 🙂 ) was the most amazing beginning to a birthday I’ve ever experienced!