Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Midnight lights and spray

Have you ever wondered to yourself in the summer ‘ why is the grass in this park so green, I have been here all day and there have never been any sprinklers that went off?’ I never did, but last night I discovered the answer anyway.

Due to a formidably sized solar flare, the local weatherman informed the public that we might see northern lights as far south as the lower 48. Also, that if there were to be a light show, the biggest chance of seeing it would be from midnight to one o’clock in the morning. I, having never witnessed the aurora borealis for myself am willing to take any chance I get, so I decided to stay up and wait for midnight.
Near my house, there is a park on the crest of a hill, and on the very top of the hill there is a circular stone look out area where you get a spectacular view of the city and mountains. During the day it is filled with hikers and families, with the little kids standing in the middle of the compass rose carved into the stone floor yelling to hear their voices bounce back to them from the low ledges. Most nights, I assume it is empty, but last night there were about thirty other people up there with the same idea as me.
Of course, me being the genius I am, forgot a flashlight, so I had to walk up with the light of my small flip phone. When I reached the look out I turned my gaze skyward and saw as many northern lights as I would see the rest of the night: zero, zip, zilch. I stayed longer anyway, keeping my hopes up, I had been watching for about ten minutes when I heard a the familiar noise of sprinklers going off, watering the grass in the dead of night. I found this quite odd and amusing, but found it even more so when one sprinkler with a much larger radius and height than the others sprayed over the look out’s ledge, nearly soaking a group of teens.
Once the park’s irrigation system had finished putting on its ‘almost’-but-not-quite-no-northern-lights-compensation show I headed back towards the old homestead to dream of swimming cats and gigantic cornbread and chocolate muffins on railway cars that had to be eaten by people on train tracks for safety reasons. (I’m not even kidding).


  1. That's a really good post! Muffins!!

  2. LOL at that dream!

    And you remind me of me. I have often stayed up late and walked (or driven) to the top of hills to view nighttime fare. I saw the Northern Lights when I was working for Howard Dean in Vermont, one night. It was so spectacular I jumped in my car, hoping to drive closer, or to a darker part of the state, so I could get a better view. Bad idea! If you ever see the lights, stay put! It might not be better or brighter anywhere else!! I spent time and gas on a view that got less exciting, not more. But it really was cool to see orange and green streaks glowing and shifting in the sky. You'll see them, eventually!

    I think the Perseid meteor shower is tonight! Hope you head up there again - you might see a shooting star!