Dawn Vincent

Gratitude & Guilt – or, the Northern Lights in the UK

a photo at night with the sky lit up in green and pink streaks. There are trees and houses silhouetted and fairy lights shining too

Last weekend the northern lights illuminated the UK during a solar storm (I think, I am not scientific!)

Pictures flooded in amongst sad memes from those who had missed it through work, sleep or light pollution. 

I should have missed it. I was ready to go to bed an hour before my friend Hayley rang and told us to get our bottoms to the garden and look up and set me into kid-at-Disney mode.

It was pure laziness/my long-suffering partner telling me it was too early to go up yet, otherwise who knows? We may have both gone up and missed the phone calls and the fun. I may have missed the chance to ring my stepdad at 11pm and hear him go from “oh god, what’s happened” to “oh, wow!”.

This is not a post to encourage late nights. No, cosy in bed is my favourite.

But it all got me thinking, as I scrolled through delight and disappointment over the days that followed on social media, about the nature of luck.

When we went to Norway on a cruise a couple of years ago and saw the Northern Lights I felt this huge rush of happiness (and I was fucking freezing so a little bit of sensory discomfort!)

And then.. guilt.

That I got to be here, on this ridiculous luxury boat, watching the sky do witchcraft, with a belly full of the best food I’ve ever had, and the whole world ahead of me, and how privileged that made me.

All while being so grateful that my life, my hard hard work, and all the moments of love and support I’d had, had got me there.

It’s a weird one to be so happy and yet so alert to the fear people will judge you for what you’ve had in life. A strange mix of working class guilt and pride is at play here. Maybe terminal Britishness, too. 

And that popped right back up at home, even though the lights were fully out for most, I was just in the right place (the sofa) at the right time when Hayley phoned.

Here are some of my pics. You knew this was coming. Sorry.

I’m not saying this whole thing has been a ruse to make you look at them, but…

the last photo is the weird photo of the moon that should have clued me in something cool was going to happen…

Have a lovely weekend, lovely humans x


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