By To the editor:

I’m from a big city in the “lower 48” and have been staying in Big Lake, Alaska for the past month. It’s always been a dream of mine to see the northern lights. In mid-April, when the University of Alaska predicted a highly likelihood of aurora spotting, I got in my car around midnight and drove a few minutes outside of Big Lake to the top of a hill. I pulled onto the side of the road, turned off the car and all the lights. I sat there in the darkness starring north. Less than five minutes later a Ford F-150 pulled up, rolled down the window and asked if I was OK. It was dark. I couldn’t see him and he couldn’t see me, but I told him what I was trying to do and we both chuckled about it and he drove on. A few minutes later the same thing happened: Another car came by, rolled down their window and asked if I was OK.

I never did see any aurora that night. But as I drove home in disappointment, I realized: I went out to find the northern lights and instead found humanity. People who didn’t even know me were stopping at midnight on a dark road to ask if I needed help in the midst of a pandemic. Thank you to those drivers. And I’m happy to report I did see aurora a few nights later in Fairbanks.

Heather Long

Big Lake, AK

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