nightlights

Northern Lights, Ketchikan, Alaska, May 2015, on the National Geographic Sea Lion

Northern Lights, Ketchikan, Alaska, May 2015, on the National Geographic Sea Lion

At the bookends of the Northern Hemisphere,
Two ships sail through calm waters,
Different voyages exploring two of Earth’s numerous natural treasures.
Two nights, almost exactly a month apart, open with clear starry skies.
Yes, stars do produce a spectacular celestial show on their own,
But on these two nights, they were but a prelude for what was to come.
In the darkness, a light…
Not the moon, nor the wish-inspiring path of a shooting star.
In the north, colliding particles in the atmosphere birth tiny bursts of light
Creating dancing ribbons of green and red over the lights of Ketchikan.
On the Equator, hot molten earth bursts from a volcano,
Its red flow producing a glowing ribbon of its own over the land.
Displays like these don’t last forever.
As clouds roll in, the sun rises, and lava hardens into a cold blackness,
The shows come to a close.
But they live on, painted in their fleeting splendor,
Forever on display in the depths of my memory.

Eruption of Wolf Volcano, Galapagos Islands, June 2015, on the National Geographic Endeavour

Eruption of Wolf Volcano, Galapagos Islands, June 2015, on the National Geographic Endeavour

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