Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nature's lightshow

I spent three years of my adult life living and working in the Northwest Territories. One of my most memorable sights during my time there was the Northern Lights. The whole sky was awash with multiple colours flashing and racing from horizon to horizon, so vivid and so close that it often seemed like a tall ladder would enable me to reach up and touch them.

We don’t get that type of light show in Canada’s southwest, though sometimes a much smaller version will appear. But this morning’s walk in the pasture provided a different type of lightshow that instilled that same feeling of awe and an incredible sense of wonder.

After feeding the pigs and celebrating with them the possibility of a day without torrential rain, I stepped outside the barn to see a single shaft of light piercing through the trees. The mountains that surround me were obscured by thick fog, yet the light illuminated tall trees on their peaks.

By the time the dogs and I reached the top of our little hill at the back of the pasture, the mist had rolled in, the sunlight had disappeared, and we were plunged back into the blue-grey early morning light of a dusky dawn.

But during our half hour of pasture time, the lighting changed a trillion times as the sun struggled out of bed and then snuggled back under its blankets of cloud and fog, only to return again moments later. The surrounding hills were variously blue, green, grey, gold, silver, red, depending on the precise combination of sun, fog, mist, light, dark.

Trying to balance my personal meditation time with the impelling need to snap a thousand frames in order to share this magic with others was a lost cause – in the blink of an eye a new image would emerge, a new landscape awaken.

Neither my 'needs-to-be-replaced' camera nor the amateur skills of this photographer could adequately capture the beauty of nature’s lightshow, nor can my words adequately describe the reverence, the wonder I experienced in that half hour on the hill. What an amazing way to start the day.


Black Jack's Carol said...

Eloquent description! You have put into words many of the thoughts going through my mind the night I tried to capture the sunset. I realized the sky changed so quickly, that even a few seconds behind the camera was a scene missed in real time. Like you, I was torn between recording the moment or wallowing in it. That first picture pulled me into your post, and the others did a good job of showing the rapid changes. Surely the best kind of start to your day:)

Jean said...

Carol, an hour after I shot those photos, the hills were completely obscured with low, thick cloud, there wasn't a patch of blue or sunlight to be seen, and the rain was again torrential. I felt like the early bird who had caught the worm!:) So many days start that way and turn to rain - it is one of the reasons I like to get out at first light! People who sleep in don't know what they are missing! :)