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I saw the Northern Lights one night

It’s not like I had never seen them before. I would go outside late at night in the winter and on some occasions they were there in the sky. But they would only hang low on the horizon, flickering very softly like movement you can only see out of the corner of your eye. They were pretty but evoked very little emotion.

Then there was that chilly night in February so many years ago. My friend Angele and I were waiting outside for our other friend Amanda (who had run off without us but that’s another story). It was cold, probably around -30 Celsius, and very crisp, so much so that the snow crunched beneath our boots. There was no wind to speak off and no animals, people, or vehicles to break the silence save ourselves.

I don’t remember exactly who saw it first and what it looked like when it began to creep up from the horizon. What I do remember is stepping away from the buildings to get out of the electric lights and standing in the middle of the driveway just staring upwards.

It was unlike anything I have ever seen before and have yet to see since. The Lights were a green that wasn’t bright or yellowish but still glowed vibrantly without a neon-like appearance. The entire northern half of the sky was filled with it. I could see the Lights move in waves and curls and spikes, the motions being sedated individually but together…it was as though the night sky had turned to a liquid filled with currents and eddies. There were too many shapes to pick out but I didn’t even try. It didn’t seem chaotic or busy in the least.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

It was peace. It was serenity. It was…the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I don’t think there are words in any language that could do its beauty justice.

It was almost an hour before it finally faded away and Amanda returned. An hour that we both stood there in complete awe of the Lights. A year wouldn’t have been long enough to gaze at it, never mind a mere hour.

With my awful memory, there’s a lot of things I forget. But the most precious things in my life always remain clear to me, and if I close my eyes I can see the Lights again wavering over me. So silent yet so close that if I could reach just a little higher than I could on my tiptoes, my fingertips would brush against it.

With life as it is, sometimes I wish I could just go back to the night and stand there forever. To let the silence and solitude seep into my bones and muscle and let the Lights hold my soul again.

That’s what I need right now…a little beauty in my life. Something to lift my gaze upward and give me something to reach for.

October 16, 2009 No comments

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