Last night Rob and I headed out to a friend’s birthday party. Being in Iceland, since the party started at 8:30, that’s when we started getting ready to leave. Don’t ask me why, but every party experience I’ve had here shows that guests don’t start arriving until at least an hour after the stated party start time. So, it was close to ten when we headed out the door. Very Icelandic.
I looked up, still excited about night skies, to see if any stars were out. Yes. But I had to look through a writhing band of green and purple to see them. We stood in our driveway staring up until the Northern Lights started to fade. At one point it doubled back on itself, making a donut of light.
At our house, we get a lot of light from houses and streetlamps, so this display must have been amazing outside of ReykjavÃk. In a perfect world, they would have come out the night before, when the city turned off all the public lights for half an hour as part of an astronomy exhibition. It seems clear that Murphy has an Icelandic cousin, because that lights-out night had thick cloud cover. Still, it’s impressive that a city would do that. In the US, if they turned out all the lights in a city, it would inspire looting. Here, everyone went outside and took walks, even if they couldn’t see the stars.