Conscious Glory And Magnificence
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” ~ Alan W. Watts
Belabored by overcast and rainy skies at night through most of my Icelandic adventures, I was well aware of the glory and magnificence that stormed above me high in the magnetosphere, and wondered if I might be fortunate at least one evening to perceive for myself the famed Aurora Borealis. Seeing the electronic intelligence available to me showed the solar storm was strong and with good Northern Lights activity, but being here without the ability to bear conscious witness to it was sort of like pouring salt on an open wound – excruciating!
Finally one night near the end of my journeys after completing our dinner, bits of sky started to clear revealing faint strands of the aurora weaving themselves through the sky. With haste, we journeyed to a location we had seen earlier in the day, a glacial lagoon (Jökulsárlón) where calved bits of glacier accumulate before currents and connecting tides channeling from a nearby beach bring them out to sea. Using the water and icebergs as my foreground, I framed this shot sweeping above the lagoon and distant mountains into a large section of the sky where the strands burned green, as they reached from the cloudy horizon up into the sky – Magnificence! I opened my exposure for 20 seconds, allowing the camera’s sensor to perceive even more of the sky’s glory, rather than just what my eyes could see. As a bit of self-indulgence during that time, I gently painted the nearest icebergs in the distance for a few seconds with strong lighting, allowing them to stand out in the watery foreground in distinct contrast to the faint reflection of the Aurora surrounding them. Finally I was witness – awaking the universe through my perception.