Last night was one of those defining moments in a life... It's not that the evening makes any difference to my life - or anyone's life - in the long run. But it was a moment in time, apparently a rather rare moment, when you witness something that hits you spiritually, deep inside the very core of your being. Last night there was a display of the Northern Lights that even those who have lived up this way a long time and have been avid watchers of the phenomenon say was extraordinary. Usually, you can't see anything but a pale greenish tinge (the bright colours you see in photographs are captured by cameras, but not necessarily visible to the human eye), but last night the green was mixed with pinks that appear as bright red in photographs and the sky danced. Ahead on the horizon and far over our heads, the lights danced and undulated in the sky - like ribbons swirling and twirling on themselves and beyond themselves.
When the word came that it was a going to be a good night for the lights, Chris and I, despite feeling rather rough with some sort of bug or virus that is making the rounds, decided to get in the car and drive a mile to a lay-by overlooking the sea at Laide. We got to the lay-by, turned off the lights and let our eyes adjust to the darkness. Directly ahead of us lay the North Atlantic, with Gruinard Island and the Summer Isles to the right of us. The sky above was light and flashing. To our left, toward Skye and the Outer Hebrides, the colours really danced - the aforementioned pink appearing to our naked eyes along with the pale green. Above us, a ribbon of light twisted and flashed across the sky. And for one moment in time, our hearts and souls felt as if they were lifted to the heights of heaven itself. Would it be silly to admit that we both wept? It was so incredible to see this beautiful and rare (at least to this intensity) showing of the lights.
It was very cold, so we decided we needed to go home again and so drove the mile back to our house and I sat in the kitchen at the large window facing northwest. Even with the presence of light pollution from the street light - albeit not very substantial - the lights in the sky continued their dance. Flashes of light waving in and out of the darkness. And then, slowly, the lights faded and were no more. But we were there, we saw them, we experienced the moment in time and for that we are so very, very grateful.
The photographs below were taken with my little Canon. I don't have long exposure times - the longest is 15 seconds and I had to hold it, hence the lack of any distinct focusing on those things that would have been in focus had I had a tripod. But it doesn't matter. You can still see the colours dancing in the sky.
I am so grateful to have had the privilege to witness these lights. I love where I live for more reasons than I could ever list. This has to go near the top of that list.