Monday, November 17, 2014

Shot Throat and the Aurora


Gah.
Yes.
Of course I would get sick... or course.
Especially today.


Taking it as what it is -- which is a day where I'm obliged to stay indoors on the couch, all cozy, and eat vegan muffins dotted with butter and honey (because I'm not vegan) and watch Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version) and drink well over 19 mugs of tea (I kept track by holding on to all of my tea-packets -- I left my bulk tea at home).

It was one of the more rawther sick days. I was housesitting in a lovely home in a more secluded, but well known "neighborhood" of Haines. To keep me company, I had the jolliest of fluffy ol' companions, dear Ollie the cat. At one point, I pushed aside the table so I could dance and get out the wiggles that had built up in my hours peaceful rest.

I was warm.
Safe.
Content.

My friend Felicia even came over to tell me about her trip to Ireland and spend the night!

I was just about to go to sleep. exhausted to the point where it feels like someone spread out your brains on a broken chunk of blackboard, when I remembered the aurora.

Aurora Borealis.
Northern Lights.

One of the most amazing sights.

In Haines, it's not totally uncommon, but it's not a nightly spectacle that we get to see. This night, the conditions were perfect -- clear night, the moon wasn't too bright, and the forecast was optimistic. I know I'm not the only one in this town who keeps a frequent eye on the aurora forecast.

I was so close to sleep, but I knew that if I fell asleep with out witnessing them, I'd end up regretting it. Certain things can be missed, but this wasn't going to be one of them.

I ran out, barefooted, into the cold to start up Asher and get him warmed up for the drive. Where I was, there were trees all around and I knew I wanted to go to my favourite spot -- the one I was first introduced to for my first aurora. As he warmed up, melting off the ice that had collected all over him, I bundled up to be out in the cold at 1 AM. Luckily, at 31 F, it wasn't a cold night.

As I started to drive down the road, from one edge of town to the other, I could already see it whisp around in front of me. It was faint, but it was present. I needed to get beyond town-lights and any obstructions. Going 55 mph down the curving roads, the tiredness shook off and I felt a tingly-joyous-alive-and-giddy feeling.

Pulling into to the side of the road, I immediately silenced my lights and gazed up. The sight was rewarding. They were still faint, but ever-so-there.

None of the following pictures were touched up on the computer in any way. I wanted to give them to you raw raw raw.


A car rumbled past, stopped, and slowly backed up next to Asher. A man with a beard that screams, "Alaska!" hopped out of his van to take in the same view I had. What a wonder.

I took a few photographs, but mostly just stared off.

Patience was rewarded, and they began to dance.

This wasn't some subtle wave, the awkward human at the party who doesn't have the gumption to go into full wiggles -- this was a full on modern-dance in the middle of a silent library that you can't miss. The lights shot over and back, across the sky, over my head. They swayed back and forth and exploded into magical patterns that would never be reproduced in that exact way again. The awe took over and weaved into delight and I had to dance along with it. So I did. I leaped and spun and whirled with it and felt grounded and also like I was traveling thousands of miles beyond where anyone had ever been.



After a while of just standing in awe, I knew I wanted someone to come share this with me. I raced back into town and quietly dashed inside our home, gathering whoever wanted to and could come. Dani and Pearl were already in bed, Nik was about to crash, but Luke and Daniel joined me.

Our soundtrack for the drive was Electric Light Orchestra -- which Luke pointed out was the perfect name for what we were witnessing.

By the time we were back out there, they had dimmed down a bit, but the dancing continued. Luke pointed out the butterfly it had formed directly above our heads. It's hardest to capture them when they dance. In fact, I don't have a camera capable of capturing the dancing... so you're left with these blurbs of faint light that were in fact animated and vivid.

What a sight.
 I am so grateful.


1 comment:

  1. Whoa so cooooool! I saw them once in Victoria, a couple times in Washington, and very faintly in September on Bowen, but they were never dancing. Super jeals.

    ReplyDelete

Your words make me grin.

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