Photo by : Halldor Ingi
Photo by : Halldor Ingi

I can’t lie. I came to Iceland because there is nothing greater than feeling alive. Every day I’m aware of my own mortality and I ask all these questions that I feel unanswered. So I figured:  I’m going to be like Melissa’s grandpa when someone asked him about dying and doing what he wanted. “Melissa, If I’m going, I’m going Juicy” (Touching his belly).

So I guess I decided to go Juicy. I quite not understand yet the concept of living a life of hard work hoping to retire. What for? So you can’t climb? So you can’t eat, do, sleep, how you used to? I’m not preaching a life of being irresponsible with lack of preparation, but again, I asked you to all of us. Who can assure us that we are going to endure until we retire?

I remember reading that most of people’s regrets are actually not living their lives. Being afraid of doing what they really wanted.

Well, I’m also afraid, of dying, of being poor, or sick. I’m only human. But above everything I’m afraid of dying without really living.

So I embarked myself into Iceland, when in reality I’m also looking for answers, the ones, only God can give me. I’m one of those who insist in a higher being. I’m sure there is a God and he has a sense of Humor. 

But not always is clear to me that I’m looking for him.  You see, I look for him in Nature, in other people, away from systems and concrete temples. 

A few nights ago I was struggling to see the Northern lights.  I got lucky the first night but after that, I knew the weather will be difficult.  So I thought of myself been doom and I was ready to go to sleep when something popped my mind.  Is it possible that I can pray and ask God for the Northern lights? I know he is busy with more important things than my frivolous request.  But I said ” We all are his children so I’m going to try”.  Reluctantly I pray, if you can call a prayer a 10 sec thought.

I went to sleep.    Next day,  I decided to contact a friend of mine.  Halldor Ingi is a kick ass talented photographer in Iceland.  I started following his photography before I came to Iceland and to my surprise he was willing to spend the time meeting a new friend.  So we chat here and there and we open the door to possibly meet while I was visiting. That was it.

The next day it was raining and I was sure, I wasn’t going to get the Aurora, so I went to the City and Walk among stores and beautiful Reykjavik.  I was drinking a “Caucasian and “El Duderino” when I got a message from Halldor : “I hope you are outside right now”

What? Isn’t outside raining I said?   Halldor, told me, “you never know, is worth a try”.

Isn’t life a gamble?  I’m always ready to gamble.  He picked me up and I left Melissa to go home, while I’m going to the middle of nowhere with a friend who actually never met before and is a virtual stranger.  Is he?   

What a generous soul Halldor is.  To open his friend to a foreign guy.  I jumped in his 4×4 and we drove 45 min over icy roads,  in the middle of nowhere over an almost frozen lake. 

No luck for us.  We stand there in the shores with frozen rocks and whistling winds. Fingers numbed, hoping for the winds to clear the skies.  

How can I explain that I was dead cold, but so alive? Is hard to describe. The Aurora gave is a glimpse but skies closed again. 

I was happy. Any where but here.  I’m far, I’m in a foreign land. I have a new friend and I’m staring at the skies.  Looking for a photo staring at the skies, what a metaphor for what I was really looking for. 

Our of the distance, while shooting a mountain a couple of KM away,  We saw the lights of a car. Af first we didn’t pay attention, but then Halldor told me ” I think there are in trouble” Do you want to go help?

Of course I wanted to help, I knew that was the end of the photographic adventure, but either way we weren’t getting much,and people needed our help.

The road conditions were difficult.  There was at least an inch of ice over the roads.  

There was this car with a couple of ladies and 3 children, and a car that couldn’t continue its course. Suddenly lots of Icelandic. 

We decided to help and to take them to a back road that was safer.  Halldor drove their vehicle and I drove his with the Children inside and one of the ladies.  We start driving and over 45 min and very slow we make it to what we thought it will be ok.   The Lady in my car, surprisingly spoke Spanish. Oh Boy.. She even knew Guatemala!  What are the freaking chances?

In our way back home we found them again, they requested our help and we helped them again.  When we were close, just right before the light pollution from the city starts I see something in the sky… Are those the Northern lights?  Oh my God!  They were huge!!!   Nothing I can do I said. I need to help driving. It was pure torture for a photographer.   But we were close and they were safe. So Halldor pulled over and we said goodbye and we start shooting.

The skies cleared and Bam! The Aurora in its full splendor.  Smiling at us.  My Generous friend again, I’m sure he thought, “I have dozen of pictures of the Aurora” So Instead of only shooting for himself, he made this picture of me. 

He laughed at me with Joy, happy that we found the lights and the mistery of their appearance danced with us. 

Before we said goodbye our new friend one of the ladies,  took this picture of us.   

 
We were happy dogs.  What a cold, dangerous magical night!

And then It hit me…. I prayed to God for the lights a couple of days ago… He always does that to me. He always teases me, so is up to me to believe if it was actually him or the “coincidences”.  Not such thing as coincidences, I learned a long time ago.

I was lost, looking for the lights.  I prayed and I found a brother, We helped our neighbors and The lights found us. 

Is like getting an email saying ” Your prayer has been answered”.   What a fabulous gift.   What a mistery in every part of my journey. 

In the midst of the coldest winter, suddenly you don’t feel the cold.  There is a burning flame in your heart and belly, the ones that never fade away and you take with you forever. 

Thank you Halldor, without your friendship, I would have never lived such an amazing night. 

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COMMENTS

  1. Farrah Estrella 

    Good job my friend, the pictures are stunning as always. I hope you guys are having a great time in Iceland..hugs!!
    Farrah