Pepper, Ketchikan WBO
night the sky had been overcast. Around one o-clock, however,
the clouds suddenly started vanishing, and by one-thirty the
sky was clear and all the stars were shining very brightly.
I was making a balloon sounding (we have to add eight hours
to get Greenwich time here), when I noticed the sky was illuminated
in the East, silhouetting the mountains.
first I was slightly puzzled. Then I decided the moon was about
to rise (we seldom see it up here because it’s nearly
always too cloudy), and dismissed it from my mind.
relief came at two-thirty, I started walking home. The glow
was still behind the mountain, and I remember thinking vaguely
that it certainly was taking the moon a long time to get up.
Then all around the horizon thousands of searchlights seemed
to go on far, far away, so that their edges were diffused and
melted one with the other. They were a dazzling white, like
cirrus clouds – in fact for a moment I thought perhaps
they were. Then, I thought, “Oh, it must be the Northern
Lights,” and was disappointed because they were not in
colors. They often aren’t, this far south.
my disappointment over the lack of color was short-lived. As
I kept watching, one of the beams shooting straight upward would
grow much brighter than the others and then fade back to the
intensity of the rest, and another would become brighter. All
of them seemed to be waving slightly from side to side.
all alone in the quiet, sleeping town, beholding this majestic
pageant of light, I seemed to cease to be – and all that
existed was that wavering curtain of white. It was as though
I were glimpsing heaven.
have seen the Aurora Borealis.
“The BREEZE”, Vol. 3, No. 2. P. 7. March 10, 1946.