Watching the Aurora Borealis through a Subaru’s sunroof



As I was watching the amazing nature display, that small newspaper clipping from back in 1998 comes back into my memories.

It was the middle of a chillingly cold winter back in Northern Romania. I came back in the house after a long Saturday afternoon outside playing with my friends in the snow. I remember how hard it was for my mother to change my clothes. I was frozen and my clothes were hard as ice. The reason we used to return home with wet clothes, starved and frozen, is because once you’re home you cannot return outside.

The rules were simple and clear:

  • If you’re wet (and a mother knows she has to wash your clothes) you’re out.
  • If you return home for a glass of water or a sandwich, and your clothes are wet, you’re out.
  • If you scream way too much and your mother hears you from the condo’s windows, you’re out.

God knows how many times we need to go through all these experiences in order to learn the secret:

If you obtain the freedom on a cold and snowy day, then you’re like a soldier during the battle. That means you cannot be thirsty, hungry or tired. Enjoy the time with your fellow friends till your mom comes on the condo’s roof top to call you inside.

I know what you might think in this moment. I bet you think we were just simple children “submissive” to our mother’s “supreme power”.

You’re wrong buddy!

We studied and we learned something important that really works in every single issue in this world:

Your individual voice is powerless, but when you’re in many, you can change minds and the rules. You can change history.

The power of unity always worked…

We used to form the begging group.

We used to go and knock at our fellow “imprisoned” friends’ door and ask for a meeting with their mother. Once she was in front of us, we would kneel in front of her and beg to let our friend outside with us. Who knows how many things we promised to those women and we didn’t follow through with. Something was always sure though: Always being respectful.

That night it didn’t work though. It didn’t work maybe because everything happens for a reason?

It was already late, but we needed to finish our toboggan track for the next day. I was the first of the team who was called inside by my mom. My fellow friends came at the eighth level where I was living, and did what needed to be done. It was dinner time and my mother was preparing it. Actually she was burning it because of my friends. They started to beg her. I was behind her.


She closed the door in their face. And I was shocked. I knew that nothing would change her mind. I walked towards my room. In my head everything was wrong and unfair. Now that I think a little better, a song might be perfect for that situation:

I was alone in the dark, in my room. I was sad with the world. I was thinking, What is going to happen to our hard work?

About ten minutes later, my dad came in my room. He turned on the light. He launched an old magazine on my bed and he left.

The front page was showing this amazing picture with an amazing Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) photograph. I don’t remember where that photo was taken or what the words meant. It was in German. All I could read was Aurora Borealis. I was sbalordito!…(amazed)…

I grew up with that picture in my head. For precisely 18 years. Until 5 months ago when I finally saw my first Aurora Borealis.

On that night, the woman of my life surprised me. We took our memory foam mattress for the back of her Subaru XV Crosstrek, a blanket, and some food. She told me she had a surprise. We drove North towards the infamous and formidable Sleeping Bear Dunes. We took a trail and we found the perfect parking spot. We had this amazing view in front of us. I couldn’t find a cloud on that clear sky full of stars.

I confess though…

I was a little bit scared. In that place, one could find only myself, this amazing woman of my life, and a bunch of still awake wild animals.

I couldn’t figure out why we were there. I thought that it might be one of those nights when we go stargazing and try to identify some of them.

What happened later?

She opened her Subaru’s sunroof so we were able to go safely outside to watch the waters of Lake Michigan. She looked at me and told me:

“Alex, not the stars…”

“Look at the horizon line over the water!”

I was amazed, folks! I couldn’t believe my eyes. That night we had the Aurora Borealis in front of us. What a pretty nature show. It was like when the wind blows the sand. That night the wind was blowing that amazing green light over the water. Thinking back on that night I get goose bumps. All we needed was an amazing and scary-romantic spot, a cozy car where to sleep, nature at its best, alongside the woman of my life. Without knowing, she made my dream come true.

We fell asleep with the phones close to us. We had almost 12 alarms between 10 PM and 5AM to witness the various light shows of the sky…

I’m so happy that I met you that day in Manarola, Sarah! I’m so glad my mother didn’t let me go outside that evening of 1998. I’m so happy that my father shared with me that magazine.

Does everything happen for a reason? Maybe not but what if it does happen for a reason? Anyway life is good!

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