you’ve probably hear of the aurora borealis, which exists at both the south and north poles. The Aurora is an incredible light show caused by collisions between electrically charged particles released from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere and collide with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen. The lights are seen around the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. Auroras that occur in the northern hemisphere are called ‘Aurora Borealis’ or ‘northern lights’ and auroras that occur in the southern hemisphere are called ‘Aurora Australis’ or ‘southern lights’.
Being Canadian, I was a former figure skater and, late at night after finishing my shift at the bar, i would walk out into the beautiful white woods and skate on the pond until 3 or 4am. No one knew of my secret pond. I hid my skates behind the bar and collected them at the end of clean-up hurrying out into the light of night (its always light in the territories). I walked along the deserted streets and then made my way into the woods, my inner being lunging ahead as it longed to express itself through the liquid movements on ice.
the pond nestled in the tiny forest, among a white winter wonderland of beauty. a fairyland. I was so cold and sat on a log and put my skates on. I tested the ice, then got on and surveyed the perimeters noticing where it might crack. Satisfied, I began to twirl and dance along the ice with the cool wind in my hair and a song in my heart. completely alone in the beauty of nature and self-expression. for those moments i was free.
I always skated until i felt the chill-banes quite strongly. Not wanting frost-bite (people who get this lose limbs), i took off each skate massaging the toes quite intensely to restore circulation before i put my shoes back on. then i would begin the trek home.
on one night, after skating, i was so cold i decided to take a different route home. a short-cut (i can hear you groan). I looked out from where i stood, knowing the direction. the snow was even, flat and looked firm. I would cut across the field I thought and set out on my way. I had not gone far when I suddenly found myself lying flat on my back. As i peered directly upwards I could see my body cut-out above me as I lay in a cavern of snow. The snow, so light and dry, had filled up the valleys so that the terrain appeared flat. I had fallen into a valley.
The voice within spoke,”you spend so much time looking downward, why not look upwards?” and i looked up through my body cut-out into the night sky to witness the aurora borealis. it was INCREDIBLE. swirling bodies of stars, against a moving blue and green back ground – a cross between a bright Kandinsky and van goh’s starry night. electric, elegant swirling masses of colors disappearing and reappearing. Although i saw the aurora borealis many times after, it was never as incredible as this night. I lay there in admiration.
However, after lying there transfixed for a while i began to get quite warm and felt very very tired. I wanted to go to sleep and began to curl up BUT the voice came into my head. it was my father’s voice. my father had grown up in Lynn lake Manitoba where it too was icy cold. “Kelly, i can’t tell you how many lives i saved just walking to school (it was a ten mile walk every day) as i pulled people out of the ditch who had stopped to rest along the way. when hypothermia begins to set in it makes you warm and you want to sleep. I would pull these sleepy people out of the ditch and not let go of them until they were up and walking.”
I ignored my father’s voice and turned over to rest more deeply when the OTHER voice came into my head booming, “YOU WILL GET UP RIGHT NOW.” I tried to ignore it. “GET UP RIGHT NOW AND DIG YOUR WAY OUT.” it was incessant and would not let up so i got up and dug my way up the ravine to the road and walked home. This was the full emerging of the inner voice – a powerful, authority-filled, stable voice that one dare not disobey.
Exhausted on arrival back at my trailer, i collapsed on my bottom bunk with my outdoor clothes still on and fell fast into a deep sleep.
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