Aurora Borealis, Nellim, Finland, 2012

  • where:

    Nellim, Finland

  • what:

    Solitude, Beauty, Aurora Borealis

  • why:

    Stillness, Quiet

  • when:

    Year round

  • warring:

    Cold

  • Geotag Icon Show on map

The quietness of the Nellim Wilderness Area reminded me of the quietness of the desert. That absolute lack of sound which has the ostensible effect of suspending all movement and creating a complete psychological stillness which is also accompanied by the physical sensation of a certain change in air pressure surrounding the body. It’s the perfect state of being when waiting for the ephemeral, but also a bit dangerous as the mercury begins to fall toward -25℉, and you’re not noticing the pain because of the peace. But, at this time of year, cold means clear skies, and we were lucky enough to suffer through a few cold nights staring heavenward on frozen Lake Inari.

Our ride.We were able to get only a few faint glimpses of the Aurora Borealis on our first night out. We actually saw more on the camera screen than we did with our eyes, so we we went to bed that night a little discouraged, but with all fingers and toes accounted for. Our second night out seemed like a complete bust. I stared at the horizon for long stretches while Marcy sat comfortably by the fire our guides had prepared. They were telling stories about the spectacular aurora display that took place the day before our arrival. Toward 1am the group decided it was time to pack up and make the half-hour snowmobile ride back to the hotel. I packed our gear, freezing my hands on the metal legs of our tripod feeling completely disappointed.

Halfway back to the hotel our guide suddenly stopped and pointed behind us. There they were, the undulating ribbons of color floating over the horizon—not overly intense, but I felt I was getting what I had come all this way for. We quickly set up the tripod and were able to get a few pics of the short fifteen minute display. During the rest of the ride back pain started to set into our extremities, but it was a little more bearable.

Boat frozen in Lake Inari with the Big Dipper over head in Nellim, Finland.

Boat frozen in Lake Inari with the Big Dipper over head in Nellim, Finland.

Aurora Borealis seen from Lake Inari in Nellim, Finland.

Aurora Borealis seen from Lake Inari in Nellim, Finland.

Aurora Borealis seen from Lake Inari in Nellim, Finland.

Aurora Borealis seen from Lake Inari in Nellim, Finland.

Aurora Borealis seen from Lake Inari in Nellim, Finland.

Aurora Borealis seen from Lake Inari in Nellim, Finland.

Aurora Borealis seen from Lake Inari in Nellim, Finland.

Aurora Borealis seen from Lake Inari in Nellim, Finland.

Main Street Nellim.

Main Street Nellim.

Nellim Wilderness

Nellim Wilderness

Orthodox Graveyard in the Nellim Wilderness.

Orthodox Graveyard in the Nellim Wilderness.

Orthodox Church in the Nellim Wilderness.

Orthodox Church in the Nellim Wilderness.

Nellim Wilderness

Nellim Wilderness

Our ride.

Our ride.

Ivalo Airport

Ivalo Airport