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Lost in the Lights

The view down 3rd Avenue as the aurora twists overhead. Photo: Laura Kraegel, KNOM.

When Mitch first saw the aurora, he said it was eerie. He was driving alone at night when the lights emerged over the tundra, and he later told us it was a little scary to see the streaks of color twist silently in the sky.

I believed him, but it wasn’t until the aurora materialized over the volunteer house that I understood how mesmerizing — and how startling — it would be to watch ribbons of green and purple bloom above me. 

Standing outside, the lights overhead looked like such a force of nature. They were wide swathes of glowing green with touches of faint purple fringing the edges. They were shifting across the sky rapidly, curving and coiling and never staying still. But they were completely quiet.

It seemed like something so vibrant should make a sound. A lot of sound, even. But I think the silence is what made the aurora that much more remarkable. The sight was gorgeous — and a little unnerving, just like Mitch said. But it wasn’t flashy. 

Instead, the aurora was a subtle reminder of just how powerful and beautiful the surroundings are here in Nome — and just how much influence the sky and land and water have over my imagination now that I’m here.


  1. Kristin Leffler on November 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    You captured the lights so well! Both through photo & your poetic words. xoxo Kristin

    • Laura Kraegel on November 18, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Miss you, Kristin! And you guys weren’t lying about how amazing the aurora is. Maybe when you visit, we can all watch the lights together 🙂