Norway is for Lovers

There is something serene in the midnight light of northern Norway. It is unlike anything I have seen before or will likely see again.
The sky is blue, not black, and the stars twinkle like they do in a child’s dream.
The snow-white mountains glow in the full moon light, bringing day to night in a land without sun.
I like to lay in the deep snow and watch the clouds pass and shooting stars fall, as green wisps dance to the time of celestial music.
Florida is a distant memory in the land of trolls and twilight.
— March 2013 Journal

If I had to pick a place for romantic getaways, or otherwise - especially this time of year - I would pick Norway. Every. Time. 

Disclaimer: I've never actually been on a romantic getaway to Norway, but it has everything you could want. There are icy-blue fjords, snow-capped mountains, trolls, green lights in the night sky and reindeer literally dashing through the snow. 

I came across this furry friend in January 2013 while trying - and failing - to capture the northern lights on film in Tromsø, Norway. Bill and I were helping lead a photo tour with Dionys Moser and Raymond Hoffman, and the sole purpose of the trip was to find and photograph the northern lights. But weather got in our way.

The constant clouds hovering between us and the cosmos made for a stressful week. My stress and disappointment in our lack of aurora sightings were offset greatly by chasing this reindeer through the snow on a cold and cloudy day above the arctic circle.

The work trip failed, but I went back to Norway two months later, this time for fun with a friend - the reliably ridiculous Leigh Birch. We drank wine, made Bill drive us everywhere (keeping him around is a good safety precaution since he doesn't drink) and were surrounded by the aurora every night. 

 Me (left) and Leigh Birch (right). She's British, if her hat didn't give that away.

Me (left) and Leigh Birch (right). She's British, if her hat didn't give that away.

On our last night, we ended up on the edge of a frozen lake. It was frigid outside so Bill left Birch and I on a block of ice with a bottle of Balvenie 12-year-old scotch, and escaped to the car. We drank for warmth, pretended our legs weren't numb and talked. We talked about her husband and whether or not she should have kids - they now have twin boys. We talked about me and what kind of person I might end up with - jury is still out. We talked about parties and parents. Brothers and sisters-in-law. And we talked about all the amazing places there are to see in the world.

With changes in our respective lives, Birch and I don't see each other as much as we used to, but every now and then I crack open my bottle of Balvenie 12-year-old scotch and toast my favorite Norwegian memory.