Last night around nine-thirty, the phone rang. It was my friend, Steve. He apologized for calling so late but explained that the northern lights were visible and that we should check them out. As it turned out, Calvin, our older boy, had just gotten out of bed and come downstairs on some trumped-up excuse so he, Heather, and I headed outside to investigate.

At first we couldn’t see much except stars, although the clear sky was very bright to the northeast. The amount of light was what you might expect if Hanover had grown to the size of Philadelphia. After a few minutes, the sky began to change. Streaks and curtains of lights began to become apparent. The area of sky affected grew from 45 to 90 degrees of the horizon and extended over our heads. Where the lights were dancing, all but the brightest stars were obscured as though by clouds. At the ends of the sheets of light, deep reds appeared. In the center of the lighted area of the sky, luminous patches of sky blue and green flashed and fluttered. The streaks and curtains moved and flickered as though powerful lights were being played on clouds. For several minutes, we were completely absorbed by the vivid phenomenon. The effect was not subtle and we could hear neighbors enjoying the spectacle as well.

It was the first time any of the three of us had seen the northern lights. We were all very excited and impressed.

Advertisements