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Pictures That Aren’t Meant To Be Taken

Trying to fall asleep one night, I found myself scrowling through all the photos on my phone. I stumbled across a block of black pictures – as if they were taken in my pocket or something. Then I remembered that these were feeble attempts to capture the northern lights on my iPhone camera.

I thought about this night. A few weeks ago, a bunch of us volunteers piled into the car one night to drive up Anvil Mountain to check out the northern lights outside of town (which is, of course, a terrifying idea when all the roads are ice, but that’s a story for another day). As we drove, I remember sitting shot gun, listening to everyone sing along to the new Taylor Swift album that had been on loop in the car for weeks, and watching the green lights dance and sway in the night sky. I rolled down the window, opened my phone and nothing even showed up on my screen. How could this incredible visual I’m witnessing not even appear in my camera?

I’m no photographer, I’m going to say its something about the lighting? Exposure? Anyway I put my phone away, realizing it was pointless, and let myself enjoy the moment for what it is.

I thought about other moments in my life I have no photographic evidence of. Evenings where my phone died. Concerts that didn’t allow cameras. Sunrises and mountains that a camera just couldn’t possibly capture. And how that’s not the worst thing. Maybe some experiences are not meant to be documented.

As Jenn mentioned in her recent blog post, we’re somehow already approaching our halfway points in our year here. I’m trying to simply soak in everyday because like the lights, my time here in Nome is beautiful and fleeting. I’m also lucky my roommates are real good at the whole picture taking thing.