corvi (corivax) wrote,
corvi
corivax

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hold me with wings of green fire

We were in the middle of a scrabble game when the message came through: aurora borealis, level 2 alert. You know you have the right sort of friends when you all decide at midnight on a Sunday to pile into a car and rush North, away from the curdled sprawl of Seattle's light pollution, to go see it. We drove to Snohomish and parked at an Assembly of God church, spilled out of the car expectantly and peered at the Northern horizon.

Along the horizon, a low band of green haze, milk-pale behind a jagged horizon of trees. A city on the other side of some hills, perhaps, or headlights caught in a bank of fog. Either way, too much light pollution for us to see the aurora. Helluva a disappointment.

And then the universe took a breath.

The haze rippled, became a curtain of falling fire stirred by a ghostly hand, bent and folded on itself, eddied upwards in trailing cascades of green fire. Somehow in all the pictures I'd seen, all I'd read, I'd expected it to be stately and slow, to drift and roll like an ocean mist. Not to snap and whirl and fold and dance, to arch like a lover into the solar wind, to leap like sparks in a fireplace and fall like snow in moonlight. But it was fast and it was achingly beautiful.

In a few days, you'll undoubtedly be treated to my ranting about photos that show nothing but an uninteresting green haze. :)
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