Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for Aurora

Welcome to my “A-Z” blog. Is it any coincidence that this challenge is being launched on the very first day of April? It’s as though we’ve been handed the topic for the first entry: the month of April--the herald of spring, the harbinger of summer, the time of year when Father Winter finally packs up the snow drifts and icicles and sweeps back up north clearing the way for Mother Nature’s exalted return…

…except that we awoke to snow this morning! Will spring ever get here? We’re looking forward to her arrival because around here winter is reminiscent of a Soviet gulag…except that those of us who choose to live here all year long endure the torment by choice—the blustery wind, the perpetual gull-gray haze, and snow that freezes into a sooty crust.

If it weren’t for winter’s consolations, diehard Northerners would doubtless succumb to the misery of perpetual gloom. We would perish for lack of sunlight. We would die of boredom.

If it weren’t for the comfort of a roaring fire on the hearth and hot spiced wine at the end of a day on the slopes, why would any of us stay? Of course, we do enjoy snowmen and snow angels and if winter lives up to its reputation…a “snow day” every so often. But what really sustains us is winter’s redeeming beauty.

The sunrise:

The snow:

And the winter sky…the night sky:

…where, if you’re patient and perceptive, you have a chance to witness the aurora borealis—the northern lights—another of winter’s saving graces.

I was introduced to the aurora as a child although I’ve rarely seen it since. Atmospheric conditions have to just right and you have to be alert to it. If you’re lucky enough to see it, what you witness is the emission of light as electrified particles from outer space strike the Earth’s electromagnetic field (in case you were wondering). The aurora serves to remind us that Earth is mysteriously protected against alien radioactivity and powerful force fields even when all we see above us is the clear blue sky on a day at the beach.

So, the next time you gaze up at the stars on a clear cold night, or stretch out under the summer sun…remember the aurora, a shimmering veil in the night sky, proof of an impenetrable shield against the sinister threats of a hostile universe.

What does the night sky hold for you?

“Who can know the awe, the horror, and the majesty of Earth
yet be content with the blue sky alone?”
--Margaret Fuller--


  1. What beautiful pictures! They truly do remind me of why winter is wonderful. But - and this is a big but -enough already! I'm ready for spring :)


  2. What a great post, we also awoke to snow and are right now in the midst of a snowstorm. Love your pictures. Found you from the A-Z Challenge, I’m now following you on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog!

  3. I have never seen an aurora before, but I do hope to someday.

    We also awoke to snow this morning. Just when it was almost all gone too...

  4. The night holds for me the end of a day filled with wonder and the promise of tomorrow. Glad to see you get to enjoy those Northern Lights!

  5. I've never seen an auora before. Those pictures are beautiful.