Just Stop.

Some times, sometimes you have to just stop, you know? Just. Stop.

Yes, it's Nunavut. Yes there's a limited degree of "hustle and bustle" here to begin with. But it's amazing how hard it is to forget everything else and just stop for a bit. Just for a little while. Just stop.

I left work this evening just before 11PM. I was tired. I was droopy-eyed, I was ready for bed. I went outside to start the work truck, visions of sugarplums just moments from dancing above my head ... only to discover the truck wouldn't start. Battery's dead.

I considered my options. 1.) Go to the Red Top, buy some spark plugs, install them in my skidoo and drive home. 2.) Go to the Red Top, get cash back and call a cab (hoping they'd still be running). 3.) Walk the 20 minutes home.

For some reason, maybe just wanting to be done with the day, I decided to take the shortest (though by no means quickest) route. And I walked.

It was a coldish night. Sitting still at -30. And I hit the trail at a good pace, my warm breath making icicles out of my eyelashes and fur-trimmed hood. Without my iPod to distract me I was left with only my own thoughts for company. And before I knew it, I was just steps away from home. As I made the final approach, I unzipped my jacket just past my chin and flipped my hood back, shaking my hair loose.

I made a little turn before I climbed the stairs, and a wisp of smoke caught my eye. I followed it with my eyes, and then my whole head, cranked up towards the night sky. That wisp of smoke joined its friends in the most spectacular show of Northern Lights I've ever seen in Rankin.

It was like the northern lights were their own dynamic constellation. Or maybe a galaxy of sorts. As I watched, the little beams swirled around themselves; some times forming little milky ways, and other, delicate strands of green light. Before my eyes, one of the little green hurricanes of light wound itself so tight, pale shades of pink began to shine through. The pink began to escape from the eye of the storm, marching down, fading out into green, and finally dissapating to dark night sky.

I ran into the house to grab my camera my tripod, my puppy and out we went. I got my first photos of the Aurora, thanks to Mini Spy Cam. We spent the next half hour freezing and photographing. Though puppy doesn't have opposable thumbs, so he mostly did the freezing part.

As always, these photos haven't been altered in any way from how I took them. Just compressed so they'd upload easier to Blogger.

Admittedly, pictures and words do the Aurora no justice. Only when you see them can you really appreciate their beauty. But so often we don't see them, because we're too busy zooming home, the last thought in our minds being the night sky, and the treasures it holds.

Sometimes you have to just remind yourself to stop. Stop and... well if not smell the roses, then stop and appreciate the world for its beauty. Just stop.

Happy 500th blog post "The North is My Snowcone." It's been a slice.


Anonymous March 3, 2009 at 5:07 AM  

I haven't seen you write something like this since the Rideau Canal story. Love the images both photo and inspired by the writing.

"When life giives you a lemon, make lemonaid" Someone said something like that once


Way Way Up March 3, 2009 at 6:42 AM  

Its funny when it comes to the Aurora for me. Starting out my career in Fort Smith, I noticed them all the itme since FS was one of the best places in the territory to see them. After awhile, I stopped noticing them just because they always seemed to be out and dancing every cold winter night. Now, that I live in the High Arctic, I find myself noticing them again since we are so far north here that the Lights make for a rare sight.

Karri March 3, 2009 at 7:20 AM  

Beautiful imagery and descriptive writing, my dear. I've only seen such a thing once or twice in my non-Northern life, but now you've allowed me to see it, at least in my mind, from the other side of the world! Thank you for that.

We all need moments like that. And we don't let them happen as often as we should...

Idealistic Pragmatist March 3, 2009 at 9:26 AM  

Wow. Someday I want to see that!

Matthew and Michele March 3, 2009 at 9:29 AM  

The northern lights are always hard to photograph. The photo never translates the actual live sigh of the lights. Michele and I were out over the weekend and snapped a few photos of the lights. Come on over and have a look.

Amy March 3, 2009 at 10:17 AM  

Gratz on 500 Jackie and a very good 500th post indeed. :)

Mongoose March 3, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

Nice writing. :)

My favourite with the northern lights is when they ripple like sails.

Jennith March 3, 2009 at 7:21 PM  

Hey! I think we saw the same Northern Lights (a little less pink, but there were definitely tinges) and around the same time. My only problem was trying to keep my glasses unfogged while I watched them. The whole time I was trying to figure out if there'd be enough darkness once it got warmer at night.