Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stood Up in Aurora by the Aurora!

I thought by now
I'd have it figured out ~
but, nope!
Here it is,
another wrecked morning.

Can't blame it on 
a raucous Friday night at Parkway.

Can't blame it on 
our new legal freedoms in Colorado.

Can't blame it on
waking up jet-lagged in a foreign land.

Bang Niang Beach, Khao Lak, Thailand

Nope ~ I'm blaming it on the aurora borealis!

Aurora Over Alaska
Credit:  Joshua Strang

I am wrecked this morning 
because Thursday night I forced myself
to stay up past midnight
waiting on the northern lights ~
Following on the heels 
of a wildly erratic holiday schedule.

New Year's Eve Celebration
Ameristar, Black Hawk, Colorado

My diurnal rhythm is totally out of whack!
I never learn.

I fell for an aurora borealis line
instead of sensibly going to bed on time
in a attempt to reset my circadian clock.

The Denver Post reported last Thursday
that the aurora borealis would
shine its light on Colorado
around midnight:
clear weather, partial moon, good viewing,
a rare natural spectacle,
compliments of a strong solar flare
pushing a geomagnetic storm
to Colorado.
Source:  The Denver Post, 1/9/2013 p. 4a

I was probably the only person
roaming my neighborhood Thursday
in the dark and cold of a winter night
scanning the cloudy skies
for a shimmering glow.

Northern Lights
Observatoire Mont Cosmos, Quebec, Canada
Source:  Wikimedia

No such luck!
Like a no-show blind date,
the aurora borealis stood me up!

How I long to see northern lights again.

Aurora Borealis
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Source:  Wikimedia

When I was a young girl living in The North,
the curtains of shimmering light
weaving across the night sky
were the most beautiful and mysterious things
I had ever seen.

I did not know then that the northern lights
were the result of collisions
between charged particles from the sun's atmosphere
and gas molecules in the Earth's atmosphere.

Storms on the sun 
send a solar wind 
of electrons and protons
streaming out into the solar system.

When these charged particles
strike gas molecules in the Earth's magnetic field,
the molecules become excited.
Their electrons jump to higher-energy orbits
around their nucleuses.

When the gas molecules calm down,
their electrons jump to lower-energy orbits
releasing photons of light.

Auroras from Around the World
Source:  Wikipedia

The different colored lights of the aurora borealis
are caused by the types of gas molecules 
in the Earth's atmosphere
colliding with the charged particles from the sun:
oxygen releases a green light, 
and nitrogen releases blue and red lights.
Other colors such as white, violet, and pink
sometimes occur.

Aurora Borealis, Tromsoe, Norway
Source:  Wikipedia 

I used to walk in the dark
on the ice of Lake Attawapiskat 
listening to the howl of wolves
and drinking in the beauty of the night sky.

My Brother Roy and I Canoeing 
in Lansdowne House on Lake Attawapiskat, 1961

I used to lie in the dark
by the summer waters of Lac Seul 
listening to the call of the loons
and watching the bright lights dance in the sky.

I could hear them:
the snap, crackle, and buzz of the aurora.

My Indian friend John
always warned me not to whistle or call the lights.
He said that if I did,
they would come down and burn me.

And, of course, I'd whistle and shout ~
and run through the fireweed
hellbent for the safety of our log cabin.
Those slanting, reaching lights never caught me!

Even though the aurora borealis stood me up,
the chance to see it again
was well-worth feeling wrecked right now.

Source:  You Tube ~ Alaskan Dispatch

Have you ever seen these glorious lights?


  1. Replies
    1. I hope you get to see the northern lights, Jackiesue! They are awesome!

  2. haha left you high and dry, that is kinda rude, damn that sky

    1. You can literally make a rhyme about anything, Pat! Loved, loved this one!

  3. Great post...and photos. That 1961 photo is beautiful and nostalgic.

    1. Thanks, Linda! I have a small, precious collection of black and white photos from The North, I wish I could download the pictures in my head!

  4. I've never seen the lights and can't imagine what a beautiful sight it must be. Sorry you were stood up this time. Thanks for the book recommendations. I haven't read any science fiction in quite a while so I'm going to try to find those books. My funky eye will never get much better. I've had surgery for the macular Joel and cataract and I feel lucky to have as much vision in it that I do have. I can se and things aren't too twisty, but I can't read with it. But now I have great far vision in my good eye.. It looks like I'll have to read with reading glasses now. I'm ready to just stay in and read the rest of the winter. Stay warm. Peg

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Peggy. It's hard to put into words the emotional impact of seeing the northern lights. You and Audrey had me spinning around in bed last night trying to remember all the books I read this year! I finally got up and made a list somewhere around 1:00 a.m. This is my perpetual state ~ shooting off in all directions!
      I'm sorry about your eye. that must be so frustrating! I goggled macular Joel, and found Dr. Joel Schuman, so I'm guessing that yours is a funky eye, no understatement! I've been using magnifying glasses to read lately ~ pain in the tush! But, determined reader that you are, I hope you are curled up, warm and toasty, with a great book. Happy reading, my friend!

  5. I've never seen those glorious lights, but these photos are spectacular!

    1. Thanks, Sharon! The photos are beautiful, but they can't begin to approximate the mystery and wonder of the real phenomenon.

  6. No manners that aurora manners at all! Sorry you got stood up like that. But I did enjoy this post. Made me smile :)

    1. I'm so glad that you enjoyed my post, Martha! You made me smile! Thank you!

  7. I'm sorry you missed it, Louise!! I'd have stayed up too! That is an item on my bucket list.

    1. I have this image of you, Alain, Sophie, and Clara staring up at the northern lights around Churchill, Manitoba, and seeing polar bears. That would require two trips though, because bears and lights have different viewing seasons! I know you would love both!!!!!

  8. I'd love to see the northern lights in person

    1. Maybe one day you and Daisy will get to go on a trip to The North and see them, Adam! I do hope so!

  9. Sorry you were kept up for nothing. I saw them once, briefly, on an overnight flight from Canada to UK back in 1985, sadly was too tired to really take it all in - plus sitting on the wrong side of the plane to really see them properly. Dont worry, one of my friends went all the way to iceland to see them, and still didn't.
    Joy x x

    1. Hi Joy! You comment made me smile! I always seem to be on the wrong side of the plane for a lot of things. We went to northern Newfoundland in 2011, and I was so hoping to see northern lights. No luck! With luck, I'll be in Iceland later this year and perhaps see them!!! Fingers crossed! *hugs*

  10. that should say Iceland, and I mean the country, not the frozen food chain!

    1. Love it! You are Old School like me! And obviously not of my nieces' and nephews' generation!

  11. I heard that the Northern Lights were supposed to be much more visible these passed few days too. The rain prevented us from seeing any,oh well.
    I love the photos you provided. They really give me a great idea of what i have missed all these years. That is so funny re: yelling at the light ~~ there gonna git ya! Your friend looks like he had a twinkle in hi eye. That picture of you and Roy canoeing is so special.

    The Mary Jane sign is just so....what Ron?.....oh I don't know.....unusual. You guys are so ahead of us and the rest of USA & Canada. It'll take another 60 years before it reaches here!

    Happy Northern Lights searching!

    1. Hi Ron!
      I'm sorry that you missed out on the light show! Blankity blank rain! Maybe one day you and Jim can take a trip to The North and see them!

      And I'm glad that you enjoyed the aurora photos ~ I finally had to make a donation to Wikipedia because I use Wikis so much! I am so visual!

      The photo of Roy and me cracks me up. It always reminds me of a spectacular fight Roy and I had canoeing in Lansdowne House. Roy got to sit at the back of the canoe to steer it because he was a boy, and I was mad about that. I was stuck in the bow. I didn't know then that the bowman set the pace and provided the power. I wanted to steer. So I refused to follow Roy's directions, and the canoe was spinning around in the water off the Hudson Bay dock. Roy was yelling at me for doing it wrong, and I was yelling at him for doing it wrong, and our frustrated father was on the shore shouting at us to bring the damn canoe in! It's one of my fond, fond memories of The North! Another 50 years on and we're still sibling rivals! Too funny!

      I loved that sign! That discrete paper bag contained someone's legal purchase! As I had planned, I was at Annie Oakley's in Black Hawk on New Year's Day to observe the historic event. I wanted to wait in line to go upstairs to the MJ part of the store, but Terry was in no mood to wait at least an hour so I could get a photo. It was about 1:00 p.m., and the line was very long. And OMG, an important football game was coming on at 2:25, and T was rearing to get home for kickoff. AO's was taking names, but you still had to wait in line. Our votes cancelled each others out in two elections on the issues of medical MJ and recreational MJ. I probably wouldn't have been happy standing for an hour or longer, anyway, because my feet were a little sore from jump! jump! jumping! with the band members at the NYE party in the wee hours the night before. I had planned to do a blog post on the MJ rollout, but like many imagined posts, it didn't get written. I'm so outta control, Ron. My mind is shooting off in all directions these few days into the new year ~ like an untied, inflated balloon that someone let lose!

      But I solved my computer problems ~ got the next operating system and 3 new photography applications installed ~ learned you can't put boxes into boxes in Aperture, it has to be boxes into folders (that little misstep caused great gnashing of teeth and tears in my study), and yesterday I stumbled across how to add labels to my blog post! Notice my lovely labels below.

      And I'm starting to get caught up on reading my favorite blogging posts! And I have visions of future posts to write dancing in my head. Oh the joys of being The ADHD One, as my siblings so kindly call me!

      Have a happy day, Ron! Hugs to you guys and belly rubs to SD. And thank her for being appropriate for me ~ winkers back at you!

    2. Labels ~~~ start them now because you'll wish you had down the road. You may even want to go back every now and again and label old posts. I started originally and got befuddled and stopped. I keep saying "DO IT, Ron, Don't be a fool!" I'm still a fool!


      So you and Roy are rivals ~~ sib rivalry ain't it a beatch some times!


    3. I AM going back to label my earlier posts! One a day, that will take me about half a year or more ~ I'm already behind! LOL! What have I been doing? Playing Bejeweled! It calms me down! I am full of excited electrons! If I ever slow down, you are going to see an aurora borealis sparkling and centered over Aurora, Colorado (and it will be singing Katy Perry's "Firework!")! All five of us are rivals! It can be very interesting when we all get together ~ but we love each other powerfully in spite of it all!

    4. Oh Oh! I just went and did my second label for the Burro Trail. It adds them all together. I can see that this label list will get out of control, just like my life! LOLOL!!!!!

    5. Getting what you meant by "befuddled!" I quickly discovered that I didn't need a label called photography!

  12. "Aurora borealis. The icy sky at night. Paddles cut the water, in a long and hurried flight." (N. Young). I love this post. I too spent time in the north and the northern lights when at their best are like a charm that empties the mind and heart of logic, leaving only wonder and great mystery. Sure hope you are well and that it is not too cold where you are. We are having an "old Fashioned" winter in Nova Scotia! Happy New Year.

    1. Happy New Year, Mark! It's great to you you stopping by my blog! Thank you for the gorgeous NY quote! I'm guessing it's in a song, and I'm going to track it down. Your words captured the essence of the northern lights perfectly! Logic flees, leaving wonder and mystery! My husband is fascinated with the weather around the world, so he's been giving me updates on Nova Scotia's weather once or more a day. Stay warm and dry! Ours is schizophrenic here. We've had record matching cold and heat. Poor pronghorns and other critters! Take care!

    2. It's great to see you ... My eyes are really tired this morning from working on my computer into the wee hours! Thank God I have an Ever~Patient hubby! I shall have to make a great dinner tonight and maybe start taking down the Christmas tree! Have a good day, Mark!

  13. Oh yes! I am sure you 'whistled and shouted' and paid no mind to your friend John!! lol I've had kids like you in my 'classes' before!! That's why I LOVED what I did!

    Have never seen Aurora Borealis. Hope to one day. I am sure it would 'take me away' to places I never dreamed of. And.....I would be quiet! lol

  14. Hi Jim! Thank you for the lovely complement! Too often I'm like a bull snorting and stamping at a red dancing cape! Hence the name of my blog! LOL I hope you do get to see them, Jim! They are wonderful ~ in the full sense of wonder! Have a good one!


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