Dancing Lights in Kenora

On my last night in Kenora, my cousin and I are watching the aurora borealis. Starting about midnight a luminescent wind blew down from the north, sending cloud-like billows of itself through the sky. in these billows, I could see lines without number extending from the north. I could see currents ebb and flow in the stuff.

I think about the particles of plasma flowing from the sun towards us, all those many, many millions of miles, just to give us this show: that started really dancing about 3 am. We went out in my cousin’s boat and watched from the middle of the bay outside his camp. It was quiet. It was dark.

The next day, while driving to the airport to come home, we listened to people talk about it on the radio. We are at the peak of the 11 year solar, and aurora cycle. Two cycles ago I saw, and heard the aurora. (I wrote about it here.)

There is much objective evidence to prove the aurora is silent: it’s too high; it’s not an audio phenomena. But there is much anecdotal evidence to support my contention. It seems people who hear the aurora, as I did, are standing near carboniferous trees, as I was before.

So, the thinking is that somehow, trees mediate in some way, and it is the trees I heard. Or, somehow, there is a direct, presumably electromagnetic, effect on my brain. And it is a rare effect; only 1 in 10 hear the aurora.

Although we were near trees, at least for part of this experience, I heard nothing this time. It was a much weaker event: the sky was not full of light, there was room for it to dance--the “dancing lights” as my cousin called them.

On the water, in the dark, under the flashing lights, we exchanged awed comments. He talked about magic. I talked about what I’d been thinking--currents in the sky. Then it occurred to me, What’s the difference? My cousin liked that.

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