One of the most wondrous sights in the night sky is the aurora boreal us. Like a shimmering velvet curtain, it shifts and moves as if blown by a gentle breeze. Scientists explain that what we are seeing is solar particles falling into the planet’s atmosphere and exciting atoms to fluoresce. Though I believe that explanation, the poetic side of me imagines velvet curtains moved by heavenly breezes.
I had never heard of this phenomenon until I was thirteen years old. From the descriptions I had heard from my teachers, I thought it would look like a psychedelic light show. Not until a cool October night in 1970 did I actually see the real thing.
My radio seemed strangely unable to pick up distant stations that evening. As I tuned the dial, my sister Diane came into the living room from outside and urged, “Come look at this aurora, Bruce.”
I felt a sense of awe as I stared up at the spectacle of the greenish curtain. Its movements mesmerized me. Then it changed from green to purple.
I ran into the house and shouted, “Hey Mom, you’ve got to see this. The aurora turned purple.”
“You’re just seeing things,” she replied. “Your eyes haven’t adjusted from being indoors.”
I begged her to come out but she refused. Shrugging, I ran outside. The Aurora had turned green again while I had gone indoors. Though I felt cold, I continued watching the spectacle until it began to fade.
Even today, I enjoy watching the northern lights. In fact, I don’t even have to see them to know that they’re there. Just listening to the AM radio tells me whenever they make their appearance.
I wrote about other sublime experiences throughout my two previous books. Check them out on the Bruce Atchison’s books link of my Blogspot page.