Day and night and sky is a major feature here in this state where this title is on all the number plates. Due to the flatness the sky stretches as far as you can see for a 360 degree radius and also virtually 180 degrees over the top from side to side on any axis, almost as much as one would see at sea. During the day this means that you can see the weather approaching or retreating although we have had many days of completely blue skies, no clouds in this vicinity. This can result in relatively mundane sunsets where some clouds are needed to give definition. We are not complaining though, we had thought we’d be pretty cold by now not stripping down to T-shirts when we are working. The cloud formations, when they are around, are a textbook of nimbi and cumuli, mackerel and wisp with the occasional shower in the distance.
When night falls though, it can be a whole another story. The stars are in abundance as there is so little air pollution and minimal artificial light. The Milky Way stretches from horizon to horizon. But, the top billing has to go to the Northern Lights. We were delighted to see them on our first night in Saskatchewan even though there was little colour. Seeing the shapes dancing in front of us compensated for the whiteness. On our return here we saw the green glow above the tree line and despite watching the band creep forwards, it wasn’t spectacular but we were still pleased to be seeing them. We were getting to the stage of being almost complacent, predicting whether they were going to be worth staying out or up for.
Last night, as we retired to our cabin, we watched vivid green shapes emerging from the distant band and were pleased to have seen something further than previously observed. About 11pm there was a sharp knock on our door as Eileen shouted to come outside. It is difficult to put into words the vista as we opened our north facing door to a brilliant display of green and pink lights dancing and prancing all across the firmament. The explosion of activity continued for 10-15 minutes, over our heads, in front, to the sides and even behind us to the south. We were almost ‘in’ the show.
It was quite some time before I thought to fetch the camera but didn’t want to go back inside and miss anything. Eventually, when I did, it transpired that we couldn’t extend the exposure long enough to show the lights and colours so have borrowed Carolyn’s work, but we were stood beside her. We stayed outside in pyjamas, boots and coats for another half an hour or so before finally retreating as they had dyed down but not disappeared, merely at the stage with which we would have been impressed previously.
6am and a call of nature took me outside where the skies were still busy although not quite as colourful. Vertical explosions of white were glimmering and shimmering all above. The frost was the only deterrent tempting me back inside. Today (Thursday) I see that they were even seen from Holme Moss in Huddersfield! Perhaps we shall experience another magical exhibition tonight as it has been a beautiful day again. I know that there is a solid explanation for this phenomenon but I prefer to think of them as mystical, they really can be spectacular and even quietly reassuring when more subdued. We didn’t expect to see them here as I thought it would have to be winter. We may have had an excellent but unproductive holiday in Finland to enjoy the display but seeing them unexpectedly and in their full glory just adds to the adventure of this fantastic country.