Bodø, Norway

After twenty hours of train we arrived in the Arctic circle, our intentions set on viewing the great Northern Lights. With the temperature below freezing, we strapped on our packs and began the short walk to our Hotel. The sun was peeking up over the Fjord in its efforts to rise. We knew we only had a couple short hours of daylight left so we hurried to our hotel, dropped our bags and headed out toward the pier. We were bundled up snug in cozy layers trying to fight the arctic chill. Greg wanted to get to the end of the pier to catch the sunset over the fjord, I was reluctant and freezing so it took some convincing to get me moving. But with each step, the colors of the sunset began to slowly change and my excitement warmed me again.

We got to the end of the pier and climbed out on some boulders just above the water, cold winds biting through my winter coat made my teeth chatter. We stared out at the beautiful view, endlessly blue water and opaque mountains in the distance. The sun just a tiny orange slice above the water, coloring the waves. I was overcome with such bliss, I’ve seen many suns rise and set but there was something magical about this one. I looked over at Greg and before I could say anything, he began. Slightly nervous and brimmed with emotion he began, pouring his soul. With each word, each gesture, the last rays of sun light burst open the sky, stretching oranges and deep reds. I could only inhale, exhale, listen and my eyes filled with his liquid language. As he dropped down on one knee, the sun dropped with him, a golden glimmer of light saying its final goodbyes. -T

 

The entire train ride I was overcome with anxiety and fear. I could feel my blood vessels tightening, strained arteries, and atrophy setting in my tender muscles. I felt crazy and agitated as we slowly skidded along the iron rails, impatiently waiting for our stop, Bodø, Norway. For weeks I had been checking the forecast of the Northern Lights. As if keeping updated would change anything or help ease my tension. In the sleeping chamber darkness filled the room for the length of the journey. No sun, no twilight, a moonless sky. We were frozen in time thousands of miles away from anything familiar.

I had a speech practiced, rehearsed, memorized. Months of planning, months of anticipating. Anxious, excited, nervous, sick to my core. Getting off the train and checking into our hotel was all a blur. I don’t remember a single detail, in fact I don’t even remember stepping off the train and hauling my eighty-eight liter backpack. I had one thing on my mind and nothing would possibly distract me from it.

The sun had just peeked its’ sleepy head over the Southern edges of the horizon. A momentary tease of warmth blanketed us in sweeping rays as we hurried toward the pier, bundled head to toe. The bone chilling gusts of wind tore through our layers, making each step more enduring. I asked Tyema to follow me out to the end of the pier. Reluctant is a modest word. Dragging her out to the lighthouse was worse than pulling teeth. She resisted the entire way. By the time that we reached the rocky edges, a few feet from the Norwegian Sea, the sun had bowed its’ head down for the night. I tried to begin my speech but found that my throat was torn out. Worse yet, in its place was stuffed with cotton balls. I choked out a few words. Pitiful. Nerves shot, nausea building steadily. I scrapped the speech, I would have to do it with raw emotion.

I spoke a few words and then could feel my tear ducts stealing away my false placidity. I had to just come out with it. I asked Tyema to remove her gloves. Extreme resistance. After pleading, then demanding, I was able to take the knee. I never felt more scared in my life. I asked, and she answered… -G

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