Owning a dog, any dog, is rife with its advantages and disadvantages. Small dogs can curl up on your stomach and are easy to travel with (advantage), yet they have delicate bones and nervous personalities (disadvantage). Big dogs can accompany you out on the land and are usually good with kids (advantage), yet need to be taken out and walked more (disadvantage). I mention this because of an awesome experience I just had and, if it weren’t for having to drag Sophie out to pee, I would never have been outside.
I was just telling a friend that seeing the Northern Lights up here is pretty common. Most of the time, though, they are just brief splashes of pale green or white which could be mistaken for a cloud (if you could see clouds at night). Nothing too spectacular. This, of course, isn’t always true. On occasion you can get completely blown away.
Tonight when I first headed out there was the characteristic ‘bat signal’ shooting up from the mountain across the field…not an entirely new sight. However, as Sophie ran and did her dog thing, I just watched the lights grow and spread until the sky was completely lit up. There was the typical ‘smoke signal’ thing bursting from the apex of the mountain which moved just enough to allow you to imagine some sort of mythical campfire. The rest of the sky looked like a star-studded leather shoe which was cracking at its seams…like knives slicing through blackness…letting the various shades of the crazy spectrum peek through.
Last year, in Pangnirtung, there were often spectacular nights; I often saw the ‘bat signal’ and its accompanying dancing ribbons. In fact, a friend used to go out often to try capturing that perfect picture. I would love to be able to do that, but you need a pretty amazing camera – with a tripod – to do it. These next pictures were taken by Sarah McMahon in Pang… (note: my face is blurry because my eyeballs would have dried into flaky puffballs if I didn’t blink a few times!)
Anyway, the lights here seem different…or at least they were tonight. The overwhelming sense I got in Pang was that I was in some sort of midnight rhythmic gymnastic tournament – the lights curled and flowed just like one of those ribbons. The ones tonight reminded me of the tip of a flame. If you look closely, the edge is a different colour and you can see how the difference in temperature actually makes the air currents run in a different way.
Tonight, the lights were like flames…green at the base, then moving to pale blue with just a wee hint of pink at the ends. Very cool. It looked like a fire in a breeze; a candle the moment before it snuffs out.
So thank you, to the dog, who pried me away from this computer to see the sights.