Ever since reading Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy as a teenager, I had longed to see the Northern Lights for myself. Not on the television, not as a still image, but to have them looping and shifting above me, as I turned my face to the sky.
M also shared this dream and a few years ago, for M's 21st birthday present, his parents bought us flights to Tromso, Norway, in the Arctic Circle. The first two days we didn't see anything, but on the third afternoon, when the sky was already as black as night, I looked out the window of the cafe we were sipping hot chocolate in and gasped with delight as above the buildings I saw what looked like a giant green highlighter mark scrawled across the sky. We ran outside, down to the harbour and the stretch of dark, silent water, where there were fewer buildings to interrupt the view, and stood, mesmerised, as the green light danced lazily above. My poor quality photograph doesn't do the beauty of the scene justice, the other-worldly, living quality to a naturally occurring phenomenon that M could explain the science behind far better than I ever could. But I will never forget it.