What happens when an adventurous Miami medical student taps “Best places to watch Northern Lights in British Columbia” into the Google search engine on her laptop? Well……many blogs and websites and tourism links pop up, but in this young woman’s story, the location name that caught her interest was Dawson Creek.
Meet Amanda Barnes: a 27-year old Miami medical student who is soon to be finished school and focusing on her OB/GYN specialty. I met Amanda at the Dawson Creek airport as she checked in for her Hawkair flight to Vancouver and she was more than happy to share her unique experience of traveling over 4000 miles (approximately 6400 km) to see something that many of us take for granted: the Aurora Borealis.
Why Dawson Creek? It was simple, when she saw that Dawson Creek was listed as a location where the Northern Lights can be visible, she discovered that there were flights from Vancouver. Vancouver was going to be her first pit stop in Canadian adventure so it worked perfectly!
“Oh, so you have friends in Vancouver?” I asked.
“Yes…I mean no…I mean yes” she said with a laugh. “I did not know anyone in Vancouver when I arrived, but I did know a Torontonian who I called and asked if she knew anyone in Vancouver that I could meet up with”.
At this point I might have snorted with laughter because Toronto is a long way from Vancouver and I know we Canadians are friendly but we don’t automatically know everyone and that was funny.
Surprise, surprise! Her Torontonian friend DID have friends in Vancouver and of course she would introduce them to each other via long distance.
Now my interest was fully piqued and I leaned against the counter to get comfortable for what was promising to be a very cool story.
Amanda flew from Miami to Seattle where she boarded a train to Vancouver. I can imagine that the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest mentally juxtaposed with the sand and surf of Miami in her minds eye would be mind-boggling.
This intrepid young woman spent a few days in Vancouver and did indeed meet up with her friend of a friend and subsequently fell in love with Canada.
On December 31st, Amanda boarded her Hawkair flight to Dawson Creek in search of the natural wonder Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) also known as “Dawn of the North”.
There was no guarantee that the sky would dance for her during her stay in Northern British Columbia. As she told her story I realized that it was her infectious joie de vivre and optimism (combined with a wee bit of adorable naiveté), which prevented her from thinking about the real possibility that her journey might be for naught.
Dance Aurora! Dance!
And they did dance for Amanda: a command performance.
The northern cheek of the heavens,
By a sudden glory kissed,
Blushed to the tint of roses,
And hid in an amber mist,
And through the northern pathway,
Trailing her robe of flame,
The queenly Borealis
In her dazzling beauty came!
(excerpt from the poem Aurora Borealis by May Riley Smith)
Driving 10 minutes from town, the Miami student was thrilled by the epic wonder of the aurora as the waves of light magically moved across our northern sky.
Amanda showed me some of the photo’s she managed to capture on her iphone and indeed they were spectacular.
“I want to move here” she said with a giggle.
“Please do…..we need doctors here” and I laughed and then said more seriously, “No….really we DO need doctors here”.
After Amanda boarded her flight of the first leg of a long journey home I began to reflect.
What an amazing young woman, so full of enthusiasm for life. Willing to take a giant step into the unknown and revel in the wonder of what she encounters and experiences during her journey.
We should all resolve to be like Amanda – wide-eyed and optimistic, manifesting goodness and gratitude.
The sky can dance for all of us – we simply need to allow it to happen.
Happy New Year 2016 – Love Judy